This past Monday, the Delhi High Court voiced its concern over the impending closure of the 2020 Delhi University’s Gargi College sexual harassment case, in which the police have submitted an “untraced report” before a trial court.
Notably, the Delhi police had, after an extensive investigation into the case, established the arrested persons “barging into the college premises by damaging a gate” but not their involvement in molestation and also that the perpetrators were not affiliated with BJP, RSS or any political party, as it was alleged then.
The HC had notably passed the aforesaid order on August 17, however, it was made available on the high court’s website only on Tuesday, August 22.
A two-judge division bench of CJ Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula said, “This Court voices its unease regarding the impending closure of a grievous incident without holding any individual accountable. While some testimonies have been collected, the lack of definitive evidence under Section 164 of CrPC poses challenges”.
The court stated in its order that media reports suggesting the arrest and subsequent release of specific individuals called for a thorough follow-up and directed the local deputy commissioner of police to look into the matter and supervise the investigation.
“To let go such potential leads without meticulous scrutiny would be a miscarriage of justice,” it said.
Notably, the Delhi police informed the bench that no witnesses had shown up to give a statement. To this, the court ruled that the law enforcement authorities must encourage victims and witnesses to come forward and provide the required details about the incident.
In order to stop similar occurrences from happening again, the court further ordered the head of the Delhi Police and the vice chancellor of the Delhi University to “bolster police visibility” at campus events.
What was the case and how the allegations fell flat
On February 6, 2020, students of all-women Gargi College, New Delhi alleged that they were subjected to mass molestation and sexual harassment at the college campus during their annual Festival, ‘Reverie.’ The students alleged that around 200-400 people entered the premises without showing any ID and indulged in the mass molestation of girl students. Many students had alleged that those men masturbated, groped and even followed some of them to the Green Park metro station.
Further, amidst all these allegations, an anonymous account on Instagram, claimed that the heinous act was done by BJP ‘goons’ carrying Saffron flags, who were also chanting Jai Shree Ram at the college premises.
As soon as the anonymous account uttered the magical words of ‘Saffron’, ‘BJP’ and ‘Jai Shree Ram’, the usual propagandists in the ‘liberal-secular’ media lapped it up and began to hurl accusations against the right-wing nationalists without even cross verifying the claims made by the anonymous account on the shameful incident that happened at Gargi college.
The Delhi police carried out a thorough investigation into the alleged incident and the accusations that were meted out. The Inspector of Crime Against Women (CAW) Cell was designated as the investigation officer in the case and the Additional DCP of South Delhi was designated as the inquiry officer.
In fact, not only the police but the college also created a fact-finding committee to gather relevant information on the alleged incidents.
The Delhi police arrested as many as 17 suspects who were later released on bail. Police said the CCTV footage that they have only established the arrested persons “barging into the college premises by damaging a gate” but not their involvement in molestation.
As mentioned earlier, the Delhi police also said that no witnesses had shown up to give a statement.
Ultimately, the allegations regarding the political affiliations of the perpetrators also fell flat when the Delhi Police stated after an investigation that the evidence from CCTV footage did not show any of the accused carrying flags. It was also revealed that the investigations had not hinted towards the political affiliations of the perpetrators.
“They all are either college students or their friends,” the Delhi Police had said while rejecting allegations that the attackers were from BJP and RSS.
As was made clear by the facts presented by the Delhi Police during the course of its investigation, the allegations that were meted out, pinning the blame on BJP supporters and right-wing forces, which were in turn, quickly lapped up by the left-wing influencers and Islamists, turned out to be completely false and concocted. The evidence gathered by Delhi police did not even slightly indicate that the perpetrators were associated with the BJP or RSS.
In fact, a month later, several female students of Gargi College, who reported sexual harassment, either refused to record their statements or withdrew them.
Throughout these three years, neither the police nor the college administration were able to gather any significant evidence in the case. It is only logical to draw the conclusion that the case was never persuasive in these circumstances. Considering our police administration and judicial system are already overworked, it makes no sense to continue with unjustified cases like this when there is no actual proof. Therefore, the only option left in cases like this is to close the case, which the Delhi police intended to do.