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Varanasi police adds gang-rape charges to molestation case after IIT-BHU sit-in

Victim’s statement was recorded in presence of a magistrate and two new sections of the IPC were added to the charges, says police commissioner Mutha Ashok Jain

Piyush Srivastava Lucknow Published 10.11.23, 05:59 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture

Varanasi police on Thursday added gang-rape charges to a case of molestation of a woman student of IIT-BHU, following seven days of protests from students who accused the cops of ignoring the seriousness of the assault.

The police had invoked only IPC sections 354B (criminal force on woman with intent to disrobe) and 509 (insulting a woman’s modesty by words or gestures) after three motorbike-borne men assaulted the student on the campus around 2am on November 2.

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They have now bolstered the charges after a week’s continuous relay sit-in by hundreds of students and a candlelight march on the Banaras Hindu University campus on November 8. The three accused are yet to be identified.

“The victim’s statement was recorded in the presence of a magistrate and two new sections of the IPC were added to the charges,” Varanasi police commissioner Mutha Ashok Jain said on Thursday.

Apart from 376D (gang rape), the new section added is 509B (sexual harassment by electronic mode) since the assailants are said to have shot a video of the incident. The video’s contents haven’t been divulged but the students have been asserting its existence since November 2.

“The police were meeting the victim every day and knew that it was a case of gang rape but were not ready to include the charge so far,” a student who didn’t want to be named said. “It’s unfortunate that we had to take to the streets to get a proper case registered.”

The students, who started their relay sit-in outside the office of IIT-BHU director P.K. Jain at 4am on November 2, were continuing it on November 9 evening.

They want quick arrests and improvement in campus security with more guards, functioning CCTV cameras and ID requirements for outsiders to enter. They have sought help from alumni to mount pressure on the university authorities.

BHU registrar Arun Kumar Singh said: “We have decided to keep all the gates of the campus closed from 10pm to 5am every day.”

The woman student was walking on the campus with a male classmate when the accused arrived, took her to a corner at gunpoint and sexually assaulted her. They allegedly shot a video and snatched her mobile phone.

Police commissioner Jain said: “We are moving in the right direction. There is no question of a loose investigation.”

He said the investigation had been handed over from an inspector of Lanka police station to the OC.

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