MANSEHRA: A transgender student on Sunday accused a security guard at Hazara University of sexual harassment. The university administration, however, denied the chargeand said it was “merely an accusation”.
Talking to The Express Tribune MK* – the student – who is also the head of a local transgender rights group, said she was enrolled in a six-month Tourism and Hospitality diploma course at Hazara University. On Thursday, she and another transgender student from Mansehra were leaving the campus after class and had just walked a few yards from the department when a campus security guard named NS* called out to them from behind them and told them to stop.
She said that when they stopped, he came close and asked what they were doing in the university. She said they showed him their student cards to satisfy his curiosity, but the guard then allegedly used derogatory language and began sexually harassing her.
“When I resisted and told him to desist from the immoral act, he got infuriated and dragged me to the VC office in front of hundreds of students,” she said, adding that the VC was not in his office at the time and some senior staff members tried to pacify her and brush the incident under the rug.
“But it was a criminal act. The security guard harassed and publicly humiliated me. I did nothing wrong,” she added.
MK* said that she got herself enrolled under the Prime Minister’s Skill Development Programme so that she could earn a living without having to work as a dancer, but the mindset of the society towards people who are transgender had not changed.
“People still think of us as sex workers. They think we have no dignity or self-respect,” MK cried. She said that on Monday (today) she would lodge complaint with the varsity’s VC, the Mansehra DPO, and the human rights directorate to seek legal action against the accused.
Meanwhile, the Hazara University VC was not available for comment but his personal staff officer, Muhammad Sajjad, denied the contents of MK’s complaint.
He said that the security guard NS, who is in his 50s, and MK came to his office on Thursday where both levelled accusations of misbehaviour against each other, but neither party would say what actually happened.
He said that after hearing out what little both sides offered, he thought he had gotten them to agree to forgive each other.
Sajjad said there was not much evidence to support MK’s claim, but if and when a complaint is filed with the VC, he would most likely have the matter probed more thoroughly
To a question, he said that this was the first time in the history of the university that transgender students had been granted admission.
*NAMES WITHHELD TO PROTECT IDENTITY