HYDERABAD: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday admitted a petition requesting a judicial commission probe the death of a Sindh University (SU) student at the girls’ hostel on January 1. The petition, filed by a mass communication department final year student, four lawyers, two civil society activists and a journalist, also pleads for measures to be taken to improve facilities at the hostels.
“Kindly order the formation of a judicial commission headed by a sitting SHC judge or a district and sessions judge mandated to probe the mysterious death of N*,” requested the petitioners. N was found dead in her hostel room with her body hanging from a ceiling fan. Hyderabad DIG Khadim Hussain Rind told a press conference on January 6 that N committed suicide because she was being blackmailed by a suspect, Anis Khaskheli, who is in police custody on physical remand.
However, on January 7 N’s brother, along with other people, expressed dissatisfaction with the police investigation during a press conference in Kamber-Shahdadkot.
The petitioners appealed to the SHC to mandate the commission to investigate the actual cause of the incident and recommend preventive measures for a safe and secure environment at girls’ hostels in all universities.
They also requested the court to order the implementation of anti-sexual harassment laws in the university and to direct the varsity to submit details of the harassment cases reported so far.
The installation of closed-circuit television cameras, deployment of security guards and maintaining entry and exit registers are among other suggestions. Bungalow number eight at SU has been given to the Sindh police for accommodation of the Jamshoro SSP. The petition called for the evacuation of this residential unit and relocating of the SSP House to some other place outside the university.
The petitioners asserted that they are aggrieved persons as per Article 199 of the Constitution. They cited the letters of Hyderabad and Jamshoro bar associations for constituting a judicial commission as well as the Hyderabad commissioner’s remarks about flaws in the hostel management at SU.
The SHC issued notices to the respondents to submit a reply by January 30.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2017.