Female employees in IT companies in Pune are expressing shock and concern after the murders of two girls, one of them in her own workstation. There have been complaints that persistent demands for security have gone unheard.
The latest case is of Rasila Raju OP, 24 years old software engineer, an employee of Infosys Software Technologies, who was killed on Sunday by a security guard. Raju had asked the guard, Bhabhen Saikia, not to stare at her and warned him that she would complain. Saikia pleaded with her not to and later, when she was re-entering her office after a break, followed her past the secure access door on the pretext of checking some computers. They had an argument and he hit her and strangled her with a network cable.
According to an FIR lodged by Abhjit Kothari, Rasila’s, “Rasila entered the office at 2 pm on Sunday for the project that required employees at to be present 24/7. Two other colleagues from Bangalore and Abhijit from his home in Pune were working on the same project on Sunday. At 6-7 pm, Abhijit came to know that Rasila was not working and not responding to calls. Hence he called security who in turned after checking informed Abhijit that she was lying in pool of blood at her workstation. She was taken to a hospital where she was declared dead.”
Ganesh Shinde, deputy commissioner of Police, Pune, said, “There were bruises on her face and she was lying in pool of blood. Based on the CCTV footage we started to investigate. The footage of afternoon hours showed that Rasila had come out of the workstation twice or three times and there was only one security guard on the floor. Based on that we began our investigation with the guard.”
The security guard completed his shift till 6.30 and later left the office. He was tracked in Mumbai through his mobile phone where he was caught at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai railway station at 3 a.m., where he was waiting to take a train to Assam.”
Pune has become a big IT hub in recent years and like many other companies, Infosys is based in Hinjewadi. There is high security on most campuses and the staff is vetted for their antecedents. But two incidents in two months has spread fear among the female staff.
An employee in another IT company, Nikita Sharma, said, “when we have to go to office at odd hours, we have to travel alone in cabs and we do not know anything about the driver. Besides on Sundays, holidays and at odd hours, the office premises are deserted, which increases security issues. This incident has proved we are not secure in the offices also.”
Another software professional from Pune on the condition of anonymity said, “Many a times, we have to come in the wee hours or on Sundays or on holidays for projects that are based in China or western countries. Sometime due to change in shifts, we remain alone in offices. For example if my shift is 6am to 2 pm and the others have a shift from 8 am to 4 pm, I have to spend two hours alone in the morning. My office makes sure they also deploy male colleagues but they sometime go on breaks.”
Rasila’s father who came down from Kozhikode, expressed his anger at the company for its security arrangements. “I am shocked that my daughter had to work on Sunday and that too all alone in the office. It is unbelievable that only one security guard was deployed at the floor. My daughter earlier had told me that her seniors were troubling her and she wanted to be shifted to Bangalore which is close to our home town. But the company had declined to do so.” He is planning legal action against the company. Infosys has announced a compensation of Rs one crore to the family of the deceased.
One of the senior police officer on the condition of anonymity, said, “Rasila, a girl barely five feet tall was working alone. How could she fight off a security guard? Software companies should make sure that girls are not made to work at odd hours or on Sundays. Or they should ask male colleagues to be present. Software companies hire security agencies but often the procedure of checking the background of security guards is not followed.”