File photo of a protest inside Gargi College campus on February 6. | IANS

Gargi college molestation: 10 arrested youths granted bail, HC agrees to hear plea seeking CBI probe


On February 6, during the annual cultural festival, hundreds of unruly, drunk men allegedly forced their way in and sexually assaulted students.

A court in Saket on Friday granted bail to the 10 people arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting students at an all-women college of the Delhi University last week, ANI reported. Those arrested are students in private and government colleges in the National Capital Region, the police said. They were sent to 14 days of judicial custody on Thursday. They have been granted bail on a surety of Rs 10,000 each.

On February 6, during the annual cultural festival “Reverie” at Gargi College, hundreds of unruly, drunk men allegedly mobbed the entrances of the college and forced their way in. Students alleged that the group sexually assaulted them while the police looked on.

The police have identified two others involved in the case and suspect that they could also be students of Delhi-NCR.

The Delhi Police registered a first information report on Monday after receiving a complaint from college authorities. The case was filed under Sections 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

“We have CCTV footage where the arrested persons were seen barging into the college premises by damaging a gate but they do not have any video or CCTV footage to establish that these persons were also involved in molestation,” a police officer told The Hindu.

The arrested suspects, between 18 and 25 years old, did not have passes to attend the fest and allegedly jumped over barricades placed by security guards, South Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police Atul Kumar Thakur had said on Thursday. “They had gathered outside gate number 2 [of the college],” Thakur said. “They had pushed a caterer’s parked van against the gate to break it open. One of them then entered the broken gate to open it from inside.”

Delhi HC to hear plea seeking CBI probe

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court has agreed to hear a petition seeking a court-monitored probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case, PTI reported. The petition was mentioned before Justices GS Sistani and C Hari Shankar, who agreed to list it on February 17.

The petition was filed by advocate ML Sharma on Thursday, hours after the Supreme Court declined to entertain the petition and urged him to approach the lower court. When the High Court judges asked him what was the urgency to hear the case, he said that there was apprehension that the evidence could be destroyed and said the Delhi police had done nothing. He said that while the police had registered an FIR on February 9, they did not make any arrest till February 12.

The petitioner had raised concerns that electronic evidence in the case may be destroyed, in the Supreme Court. To this, the top court had said: “Delhi High Court can also pass order like the Telangana High Court in the police encounter case to preserve electronic evidence.” The court was referring to the police encounter in Hyderabad of the four accused of raping and murdering a veterinarian in November. The four were shot dead by the police under controversial circumstances on December 6.

“It is a clear criminal conspiracy hatched by the political party to deploy accused persons to provoke the Delhi public for effecting voting in their favour,” the petition said, according to PTI. “Despite presence of Delhi Police...on February 6, neither principal nor other state authorities tried to stop and arrest the accused persons.”

The petition also claimed that “deliberate chants of Jai Shri Ram” establishes that “it is a political, planned conspiracy” and blamed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for not taking any action against the accused.

The incident

On February 6, around 6.30 pm, when the college festival “Reverie” was going on, several unruly and drunk men allegedly forced open the entrance of the gates of the South Delhi college. Students said that despite a pass system, introduced this year for the entry of men, the situation escalated after 3.30 pm, when a crowd of 300 to 400 men pushed through the gates. “The administration also showed its laxity by opening gates from time to time,” the students said in a statement. “The police force and RAF [Rapid Action Force] did nothing to control the situation.”

The students said close to 1,000 men had gathered on campus. “Men stood in gangs, ogled at women, groped them, tried to feel them up and touched them throughout the concert,” their statement added. The students accused Principal Promila Kumar of making insensitive comments but she claimed to be unaware of the incident. The National Commission for Women has taken note of the alleged sexual assault.

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