A day after police used lathis and water cannons to disperse students protesting against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Shri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi University, several woman students complained they were molested and verbally abused by students who tried to stop them from protesting.
Police have received several complaints of harassment and molestation and are looking into the allegations. Students claimed they were molested by “miscreants” and that police personnel at the spot did nothing to stop them. They said policemen looked on while rival groups hurled abuses at them.
Reached for comments, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sindhu Pillai said: “We have received complaints and are looking into it. I was there at the spot with other senior officers. No one reported to me or other senior officials about any such incident. The press was also there right at the spot. We are conducting an inquiry into the complaints.”
Meanwhile, a case of rioting has also been registered against unidentified persons at the Maurice Nagar police station. The FIR states that around 3 pm on Wednesday, more than 100 people marched towards SRCC, protesting against Modi’s visit. It is alleged that students, who had been asked to conduct a peaceful protest, turned violent, broke a barricade and marched towards Gate No. 3 of SRCC.
“Those people used force to break the first barricade. The wooden sticks of placards were used to beat up police officials. A warning was given to protesters and they were asked to withdraw but they continued to be violent. The students managed to march towards the second barricade and water cannon was opened for 30 seconds,” the FIR states.
The students, on the other hand, demanded suspension of the Maurice Nagar SHO. A group also staged a demonstration outside the police headquarters on Thursday to protest against the alleged “high-handed” attitude of the police.
According to the protesters, the police instead of protecting those detained, dragged them through a crowd of ABVP activists.
Kopal Pokal, a member of the SFI who was outside the SRCC on Wednesday, said: “I don’t think policemen have learnt how to deal with protesters. They need to be gender sensitized. They dragged us from the barricades and took us through a crowd of ABVP members who hurled abuses at us, called us ‘besharam aurat’ and ‘deshdrohi’. Even the police personnel were laughing and jeering at us.”
The police told eight protesters whom they had detained to leave once Modi left the campus. But they marched to the police station and demanded that their complaints be registered. “We demanded that the police identify those who were abusing us and those police personnel who led us to the mob. Several TV cameras captured it. Why don’t they use that as evidence,” Piyush Raj, a member of AISA, said.