On August 28, a student of Jadavpur University, Kolkata, reported that she was sexually assaulted by a male engineering student, along with his friends. The male students allegedly used force to take her to the boys' hostel during a festival organised by the university, and took her phone away from her. Regardless, she managed to escape and place complaints to the university about her assault. Almost a month later, no action has been taken against the accused, by the university.
This inaction resulted in a campus wide protest by students at 2am on September 17. The Kolkata police had to use force to evacuate the protesting students, who had cornered the Vice Chancellor and other university officials.
According to reports, the protesting students demanded that the matter be taken up by an external committee as they have seen no progress from the internal probe and investigation at the university.
Many students also claim that there were activists from the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad – the ruling party's students' wing – that entered with the police.
Several female students stated that there were few women police officers present, and that male officers used force to arrest them.
Ronit Mukherjee, a student who participated in the protests, told NDTV, "The police came and beat us up brutally. They behaved as if we were pieces of chicken. They caught us and threw us around."
He further stated, "The girls were molested, I can state it. Whatever happened with them was molestation."
Rittika Dasgupta, a student present at the protests, self-identified as a victim of this molestation in a Facebook post. "There were men beating up girls to such an extent that they ended up tearing their clothes and there was this certain guy who had targeted most girls and groped them, touched them and molested them," she wrote. "I am a victim of this."
The female students have also filed molestation charges against the Kolkata police.
There were hundreds of students involved with the protest, and a total of 35 were arrested. Several more have been hospitalised. So far, two students remain in critical condition, with one of them being admitted to the ICU of a nearby hospital according to reports.
Jadavpur University Vice-Chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti told reporters that he was forced into demanding police reinforcement when the protests began to threaten his personal safety.
"I would have died at their hands had the police not come. They were attacking us and I fear we would have been killed," he said. "We told them to let us go but they did not relent and so I was forced to call police. When the police took me out of the office I saw students trying to attack me."
The hashtag, #hokkolorob has begun making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, primarily by Indians across the country campaigning for the students at Jadavpur to receive justice.
The sexual assault incident at Jadavpur occurred just days after a sexual harassment case was reported by a fine arts student from Visva Bharati University, in West Bengal. In the that case, the West Bengal courts delivered swift justice as those accused of sexually assaulting the student were arrested and booked for criminal intimidation and outraging the modesty of a woman, just days after the incident was reported.
BuzzFeed has reached out to the Kolkata police for comment, but received no immediate response.