Two held for Jadavpur molestation, governor questions students' silence

Kolkata: Two engineering students of Jadavpur University were arrested on Monday for allegedly molesting a first-year student, police said.

The arrests came on a day when West Bengal Governor and university chancellor Keshari Nath Tripathi questioned the silence of students and a section of faculty members who had participated in a major agitation against the university authorities over a similar molestation case last year.

"We have arrested one third-year and one fourth-year student of the engineering department in connection with the alleged molestation of a first-year student of the Sanskrit department on March 20," Deputy Commissioner of Police Santosh Pandey said.

The student filed a police complaint on Saturday, alleging she was assaulted and molested by three seniors after she refused to allow her bag to be checked while entering a festival organised by the Faculty of Engineering Technology Students' Union at the campus.

Earlier on Monday, two of the three accused issued an open letter stating that they were willing to court arrest to ensure a thorough investigation into the case, and said they were ready to "extend all possible help" to ensure "complete justice" to the complainant. "As gender activists, we want the complainant to get speedy justice.

We are willing to extend all possible help to ensure complete justice to her. In the process of ensuring justice to her, we are willing to get arrested on a primary basis to ensure all legal procedures are initiated," they said in the letter.

Referring to last year's sustained protests by the students over a similar molestation, Tripathi questioned their silence this time. "Why are they (students and teachers) silent? Why don't they come forward? Why don't they help police in catching those students who are guilty of molestation?" Tripathi told the media here.

A similar molestation case in the university last year had snowballed into a major controversy when vice chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti called for a police crackdown on students agitating for an independent probe into the molestation.

Sustained protests by the students and a section of teachers later led to Chakarabarti being asked to step down by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

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