‘No CCTV Footage Shows Accused Holding Bhagwa Flags,’ Says DCP On Gargi Fest Molestation Case
An anonymous account of alleged mass molestation at Delhi University’s Gargi college had said that perpetrators were returning from a pro-CAA rally and were holding bhagwa flags and chanting Jai Shri Ram slogans. The post was reported by several media publications
Responding to an anonymous claim which was reported by a large number of media houses that men who allegedly molested students of Delhi University’s Gargi College were “BJP goons” holding “bhagwa flags”, the police say the investigation so far does not corroborate it.
“So far, the CCTV footage have not shown any of the accused holding bhagwa flags, or any kind of flags,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) South, Atul Thakur, told Swarajya.
Thakur said that investigations so far have not revealed that the accused are affiliated to any political party. “They all are either college students or their friends,” he said.
The media reports were based on an anonymous account of alleged mass-harassment on 6 February at the all-women south Delhi college.
The anonymous account, uploaded by Instagram handle iawaken.in, said, “There were BJP goons with a nearby rally inside our campus with bhagwa flags chanting Jai Shree Ram (sic).”
“They’ve destroyed our safe space. Gargi, since it’s an only women’s college, has been our Kaaba for the longest of time. They’ve snatched it away from us,” the post said.
The post is not available on the Instagram handle anymore.
The post was credited to a Twitter handle named @fuckbjp.
The said Twitter handle, when last checked, said in its bio that the “@Fuckbjp's account is temporarily unavailable because it violates the Twitter Media Policy”.
Here are some media reports based on the anonymous post:
Molested thrice in 10 mins: Gargi College girls say “BJP goons chanting Jai Shree Ram molested us”, by Nationalherald.com, which is a Congress mouthpiece.
Drunken men chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ grope, masturbate at girls in Delhi’s Gargi College, by Orissapost.com.
All the above reports cited a 9 February post by Twitter user @saumyakul (Saumya Kulshreshtha), that carried screenshot of the anonymous account.
“Mayhem happened at #GargiCollege today and literally no one is talking about it. Our girls were assaulted by drunk men. Amplify, take it to right channels please. @richa_singh @iamrana @abhisar_sharma @aaqibrk @hussainhaidry @tanwer_m,” the post said.
Kulshreshtha’s Twitter bio says, “I am Jamia-JNU-AMU”.
While this account was anonymous, several students took to social media platforms including Twitter and Instagram complaining of being groped and molested on the last day of the college’s annual festival, Reverie.
Students also talked to the media.
News agency IANS quoted an anonymous second year student of political science, as saying, “around 6:30 p.m. on February 6, the field was so massively crowded that there was no space to move. Two of my friends who were accompanying me, they had held my hands so that I don''t get lost in the crowd as there is no cell reception on the field. Suddenly immense pressure came from behind and my hand got jerked off so I lost my friends for the next 10-15 minutes, and in those minutes, I was molested thrice."
The agency quoted the college principal, Promila Kumar, who has been accused of not taking the matter seriously, as saying, "We had a huge security arrangement, including police, bouncers and even commandos along with the teaching and non-teaching staff, on duty. No one came to us and reported any such incident. We were taking rounds in the crowd. However, there is no doubt that it was very crowded. We were very vigilant but we couldn''t see anything of this sort."
Later however the college principal gave e a complaint to the police about the alleged harassment.
The police booked unidentified people for trespassing, assault and harassment. An Indian Express report published on 11 February said that the police recovered footage from 32 CCTVs.
Footage shows some men entering campus along with some girls after showing passes, while some others entered illegally in the presence of college staff but were not stopped, the Express report said.
The report further said that the footage shows that around 4.30 pm, some people climbed atop the caterer’s car parked outside the main gate and jumped into the college.
“While CCTVs were installed at the gate and the entryway to the festival, police said they have not found footage to corroborate the allegations of students,” the Express report said.
So far, the police have arrested 12 men in the case. The police say they are between 18 and 25 years of age.
As per a report by The Times of India published today, two fresh arrests are of a 19-year-old call centre employee and a 22-year-old graduate preparing for a competitive examination. Among the ten arrested earlier, six are from DU itself and two from technical universities in Noida. The remaining two are former Delhi University students.
The Times report says that as per the police, no woman at the college has come forward and submitted an individual complaint about the harassment yet.
The newspaper has quoted “a police officer privy to the investigation” as saying, “Our team, including women officers, visited the college. But so far no student has given an account of her ordeal. For more accused to be identified and to take the case to its logical conclusion, the statements of the victims are required. The case has been registered on the basis of the complaint of the college principal.”
A 10 February report by CNN.com said that a statement issued by the college’s General Body of Students said that "thousands" of men jumped the gates of the university.
"Men stood in gangs and ogled at women, groped them, tried to feel them up, pushed them, and touched them throughout the concert," the statement read.
The CNN.com report did not mention any claims of Jai Shri Ram slogans or bhagwa flags.
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