Students at an all-women's college in the Indian capital of New Delhi have been sexually harassed and abused by large crowds of men last week, sparking an outcry and protests since.
On the final day of a three-day festival "Reverie '20" last Thursday a group of men barged onto the Gargi College campus in South Delhi and allegedly molested and sexually assaulted the female students en masse, said a statement issued by the general body of students, reports the CNN.
According to the student group's statement "thousands" of men jumped the gates of the institution, descended onto the campus and damaged property, while police and non-teaching staff stood by and did nothing.
"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.
"People formed human chains to move from one area to another. After the concert was over, the men followed women, catcalled them, and forced them to reveal their names and Instagram IDs."
New Delhi police said it had filed an official complaint against unidentified people for trespassing, as well as assaulting and harassing women, at a Delhi college last week. A complaint has been lodged by the college authorities and a case has been registered at the Hauz Khas police station.
"We are in touch with the principal of the college and are looking at CCTV footage as well," police spokesperson Anil Mittal said.
The Deputy Commissioner of South Delhi Police Atul Thakur said that police were investigating claims that officers did not take action during the alleged assaults.
Police said CCTV footage will be scanned to gather evidence.
"We have started our own formal inquiry and it is being led by a senior police official," Thakur added.
Gargi College has condemned the "outrageous incidents" that took place during the festival. The institution said that it was committed to the security of its students and would set up a "high-level fact finding committee" to meet with the complainants and eyewitnesses.
"The institution will file a report of complaints to the police at the earliest so perpetrators can be brought to justice," Promila Kumar, principal of the college said in a statement.
"We will set up a security protocol to ensure such incidents never take place again."
Protesters gathered outside the school on Monday, February 10. Over 100 students were present at the protest outside the gate of Gargi College. They alleged that the college management did not take any action even after the students took up the matter with it. . Some held signs calling for Kumar to resign.
The general body of students has called for a mass strike at the school until a meeting is secured with the principal and teachers responsible for their safety and security. It also called on students to sign a petition "to assure us a safe and secure Reverie 2021 with a proper plan of action put in front of us."
The Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal, visited the college on Monday to meet with students and the administration.
"In Gargi College, the miscreants busted the walls and molested the college girls. Despite such a serious matter, the police and college administration present on the spot have not taken any action yet!" Maliwal tweeted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed grave concern about the incident of outsiders entering campus and molesting women students at Gargi College.
"Misbehaviour with our daughters in Gargi College is very sad and disappointing. Incidents like these cannot be tolerated.Culprits should be caught and given the harshest possible punishment and we must ensure that children studying in our colleges feel safe," Kejriwal said in a tweet.