Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal on Monday said outsiders were behind the alleged sexual assault during last week’s annual cultural fest at the all-women Gargi College in New Delhi, reported PTI. Several students of the college claimed a number of drunk men, gathered on the campus, had sexually assaulted them while security personnel did not do anything.

“Those who were involved in the incident were outsiders and not students,” Pokhriyal said during Question Hour of the Parliament. “It was not a good incident. The college administration has been told to take action in the incident.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for stringent punishment against the accused. “Misbehaviour with our daughters in Gargi College is very sad and disappointing,” he tweeted. “This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated. Culprits should be give the harshest possible punishment and we must ensure that children studying in our colleges feel safe.”

Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi had posed the question in the Parliament, to which the Centre said it was aware of the incident at the college. The Congress leader also called for action, noting that sexual harassment and bullying were common occurrences in several higher educational institutions. Meanwhile, more than 100 students from the college held a protest outside the gates.

The Delhi Police registered a first information report in Hauz Khas police station on Monday after receiving a complaint from college authorities. The case has been registered 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).

Earlier in the day, police had said it had initiated a “suo-motu” investigation into the matter, and was going through the CCTV footage. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Geetanjali Khandelwal is in charge of the inquiry.

On Thursday 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.

They said nearly 1,000 men had gathered on the campus and some of them “ogled, groped, and touched them” throughout the fest. The students also accused the Principal Promila Kumar of making insensitive comments but she claimed to be unaware of the incident. Kumar added that no student had reported about any such incident to the authorities.

The National Commission for Women has taken note of the alleged sexual assault. Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal reportedly reached the college to take stock of the situation.

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Delhi: Several women at all-women’s college allege sexual assault by drunken men at annual fest