The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Held for prying on girls
- Hostel students breathe easy with night trespasser in the net

After two disturbed weeks, the Presidency College women's hostel in Salt Lake will sleep easy on Tuesday night.

This follows the arrest of a Peeping Tom early on Tuesday and the hunt for the rest of his gang.

'Palash Choudhuri, 27, was arrested this morning for trespassing into the Presidency College Women's Hostel at night,' said superintendent of police Parveen Kumar.

'During interrogation, Palash named two of his associates, Michael and Kaushik. We are combing the area to trace them,' added an officer with the Bidhannagar (North) police station.

The hostel scare comes close on the heels of the arrest of two youths by Jadavpur police for secretly photographing a schoolteacher in her apartment with a spy camera.

A large cache of compact discs and a number of sexually explicit photographs were seized from them.

At the BF Block hostel, the 12 girls living in the dormitory on the first floor of the building first noticed the intruder about two weeks ago around 3 am. Palash, perched on a ground-floor ledge, was seen peeping through a window overlooking the dormitory.

Some of the girls who were awake noticed a movement beyond the window and then caught sight of Palash, who promptly slid away. Hostel matron Shikha Dey was alerted.

Being local residents, Palash and his accomplices knew the area well.

At night, they would scale the hostel's boundary wall and take up position on the first floor, that lodges the largest number of girls. Taking turns, they would ogle the boarders, while one of them kept a watch.

The dormitory boarders saw Peeping Tom Palash and gang at their window at least six times in two weeks.

They were growing intrepid enough to draw the students' attention.

Early on March 28, Palash had attempted to touch a sleeping girl through the window. That was also when a boarder's mobile phone went missing. Last Thursday, Palash tossed a chit through the window with obscenities scribbled in Bengali.

Policemen arrived after a frantic call from matron Dey.

On Monday night, Palash appeared again and made obscene gestures at the girls. They alerted the night-guard and the hostel's bus driver, who chased the intruders out of the compound. Later, at a nearby tea stall, the duo identified the trespasser as Palash, son of the stall-owner.

'This part of BF Block has become the haunt of eve-teasers,' observed local municipal councillor Sabyasachhi Dutta.

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