New Delhi — Police and paramilitary troops today were posted at a college where women students were enraged at male students who staged a panty raid and hung the underwear from a crucifix on the school tower.

India’s most respected papers reported the incident at St. Stephen’s College on their front pages Sunday, with headlines screaming ‘‘It’s Like Martial Law at St. Stephen’s’”” and ‘“‘Stephen’s Sex War Turns Ugly” next to stories on the latest developments in a major spy scandal.

Authorities said the trouble began last Wednesday night when unidentified male students staged a panty raid at the college, one of the country’s leading educational institutions.

The students pried open lockers in a ladies room, nabbed underwear and hung it from the crucifix on the college tower, the newspapers said. A note was found later that said, ‘““Jack the Robber Strikes”’ and vulgar slogans were scrawled on the tower’s walls.

Female students the next morning angrily complained that they were fed up with such childish pranks, which have occurred at the college for six years.

Principal John Hala, fearing an invasion of news reporters and angry feminists from outside the campus, called for police protection. The Indian Express newspaper said Hala called for protection to make sure ‘‘women’s groups who like to take up these causes’”’ did not try to enter the college to create trouble.

New Delhi police and about two dozen armed members of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force arrived last Friday and sealed all entrances to the institution.

They were still on guard early today and there was no immediate word on how long they would remain posted at the school.

Hala said an internal inquiry was being conducted into the ‘‘despicable behavior,’’ but no action had been taken.

The incident also sparked a march on Hala’s office by 70 teachers of Delhi University and a call for his resignation by some parents.

Former students say harassment of women at St. Stephen’s began about six years ago when male students began issuing “chick charts” that rated the 10 most beautiful women on campus in order of their ‘‘sexual appeal.”

 In November 1983, some female students started complaining to the principal. Male students then began issuing a “top five hens”’ chart, posting it on notice boards around the campus.

Article extracted from this publication >> February 8, 1985