Thousands of students at the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi held protests on Thursday after a student alleged that she was molested on campus, The Indian Express reported.
The student alleged that she was sexually assaulted around 1.30 am on Thursday when she left her hostel to go on a walk with a male friend.
“We were walking together, a motorcycle approached us from behind with three men,” she said in a complaint to the police. “They parked their motorcycle and separated my friend and me.”
The complainant said that the men kissed her forcibly, stripped her, and recorded photos and videos of her. She also alleged that the men threatened to kill her when she shouted for help. They let her go after 10 to 15 minutes, according to the complaint.
The police have filed a case against unidentified persons under Sections 354B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as under the Information Technology Act, the Hindustan Times reported.
Protests erupted at the institute’s campus on Thursday morning in the wake of the alleged sexual assault. The demonstrators said that female students were not safe on the premises as there were no security personnel in most areas.
Some students shouted slogans of “we want closed campus”, and demanded that outsiders be banned from entering the premises.
The IIT-BHU Students’ Parliament said this was not the first time that such an incident occurred on the campus. “Students have repeatedly raised concerns about security on campus, but the administration has failed to take adequate action,” it said.
The student group announced a boycott of all academic activities and began a sit-in protest at 10 am. The protesting students demanded night barricading at the institute to restrict outsiders from entering. They also called for a centralised close-circuit television camera system on the campus.
An unidentified university official told The Indian Express that senior officials were holding talks with the protestors and looking into their demands.