The Ordeal of the JU Victim
by Nabottama Pal
On 28th August, Thursday, a student of Jadavpur University and her boyfriend were at the receiving end of an episode of extreme violence. I spoke to her extensively about the incident and the events that followed. I will try and describe them to the best of my ability.
On the said day, at around 7.45-8pm, the victim was present on campus along with her friends to be a part of the ongoing fest. There were no available bathrooms around and she went to a dark corner of the campus to do the needful and her boyfriend went with her to be on the lookout. While she and her boyfriend were on their way back, a group of young men (allegedly hostel members) approached them and passed comments about them which she deemed objectionable. This led to some pushing and shoving from both sides. When she tried calling her close friend for help, her phone was taken away. When the argument escalated further, her boyfriend was taken away to another spot (which was unknown to her and then apparently beaten up too) and she was dragged into one of the rooms of the New Block Boy's Hostel. All this happened while the Superintendent was present in that scene.
She was locked in a room full of men who she claims were extremely drunk and they even touched her inappropriately and pushed her around. They tried to force her to drink an unknown fluid but she put up a fight and refused to do so. She screamed tirelessly, but nobody came to help her out. When she tried opening the lock her fingers were bent back and she was tortured for several minutes. She put together the remnant strength in her system and managed to get out of the room. As she kept running, some of the boys followed her and this ordeal continued till she met someone who she had earlier tried calling for help.Seeing this guy, the perpetrators fled and the girl was in tremendous shock thereafter.
After several attempts, the VC agreed to meet her and her father yesterday. He said that he would require at least 15days to set up an investigation committee and also advised her to not come to college for a few days. "Hostel Super didn't interfere because otherwise the hostel boys would beat him up severely"- this was his stated reason why the super didn't interfere! No information was provided to her about the existence of the SEXUAL HARASSMENT CELL or the kind of action the body can undertake to provide justice to the victim, irrespective of the VC's opinions. She lodged an FIR today, but the police stated that they would be unable to investigate matters without the VC's approval, who by the way, is currently out of station.
After serious efforts, we were able to get in touch with certain previous and current members of the harassment cell and they have advised us to submit an official written complaint as soon as possible.
This kind of atrocity within the boundaries of our campus demands the most severe kind of condemnation and political action against it. We wish to go the Dean of Students, Rajat Ray, members of the cell, Sumita Sen and the Principal Secretary, Nandita Bhattacharya tomorrow to submit the official complaint and demand immediate investigation of the matter.
The idea is not to sensationalize the crisis, but to be a support system for our dear friend, who had to suffer due to such horrendous actions. PLEASE JOIN US TOMORROW AT 3.PM IN FRONT OF WORLDVIEW.
Let us join our voices to ensure that a fair investigation takes place and the guilty individuals get the severest of punishments.