Pune cops won’t help victim of sexual abuse
A month after a 17-year-old student got two of her seniors booked for sexually abusing her, she is being threatened and harassed all over again by their friends. They have been threatening the teenage girls with an acid attack
BY Yogesh Wagh and Gargi Verma
International students and their friends have been wreaking havoc at Wadia College. A month after a minor girl lodged a complaint against three Afghan boys studying at the same college, she has been subjected to repeated harassment in the past few days. In a typical case of burking, the investigation officer has also not taken any strict action and has pushed all responsibilities on to the college administration.
The 17-year-old student was being harassed by students from her own college as reported by The Golden Sparrow. However, even after she lodged a police complaint, her ordeal did not end. “It all started two days after I joined classes after lodging the complaint. The boys would just keep following me everywhere. Everyone knew within days that I had lodged a complaint and everyone just kept asking me about the incident,” she said. The situation grew so bad that the girl had to get her mother to accompany her all the time to college. One of the accused’s friends Almar, also allegedly threatened her life. “He told me that they would take revenge and that he would explain to me how acid works,” she said with a shudder.
The girl was being subjected to unwanted advances by a student of Afghan nationality, named Zahir. When she tried thwarting him, his advances just increased and he even enlisted his friends’ support to get her to agree. The victim finally had to lodge a police complaint. However, it went even more downhill from there.
“When I joined the college on July 8, multiple people came up to me and started accosting me about the complaint. In the next few days I had many boys following me to the bus stop near my home. They would follow me and pass lewd comments. Random people would walk up to me and ask about the incident. It was almost akin to being pierced multiple times by the piercing and at times judging glares of strangers,” the young girl, who aspires to become a doctor after her studies, said.
During the last few days of July, after multiple direct and indirect threats to her life, of acid attacks and ‘grave consequences’, the girl stopped going to college. She restarted only after her mother came to Pune from their hometown and started accompanying her to and from college. “I worry all the time about her. It is such a grave inconvenience for no fault of ours,” her harrowed mother said.
Koregaon Police Station was contacted by the girl when all this started again. “I called them and told them how I was being harassed. However, they just said they’ll look into the matter and have not taken any action yet.” The Korgeaon Police station confirmed that they had received complaints and are working on them. “These Afghani students have been a trouble for some time. When the girl contacted us, we approached the college management and gave them the complaint in writing. It is now up to the college as to how they wish to punish them,” said Vidya Raut, Police Sub Inspector.
The college, however, believes the opposite. “Since they are international students, there is very little the institute can do to discipline them,” said Dr K S Vyenkatraghawan, Principal of the college. “I got the complaint of the girl in question on August 3, about her getting harassed again. I took a quick action and a committee was set up immediately to look into the matter,” he added. However, the committee just sent a letter to the International Council of Cultural Relations. “We have sent a copy of the letter, the FIR and the police reports to the International Student Centre at the Savitribai Phule Pune University. Since the students in question are international, any disciplinary action including their admission, suspension or rustication happens from there. We are not eligible to take that step,” he explained.
While the police is passing the responsibility to the college authorities and they are passing it on to the international centre, the victim in the meanwhile is at the receiving end.
Originally published on The Golden Sparrow