Five students, including two minors, have been arrested under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 in a case of ragging a girl student in a government college in the Ganjam district of Odisha.
After their arrest, the two minor students were sent to a juvenile correctional home while the other three were sent to jail. In total, 12 students, including seven minors, were allegedly involved in the crime. Five of them, girls, were the victim’s classmates.
The incident took place on Tuesday when the victim girl, a plus two first-year student at the Binayak Acharya College in Berhampur, was forcibly kissed by her classmate under the watch of senior students and other fellow students on the campus. The main accused, Abhishek Nahak, was seen forcibly holding the victim by her arms in a video of the incident that went viral on social media.
“Our investigation revealed that one of the accused classmates [of the victim] had told the main accused Nahak that the victim had stopped talking to him. While Nahak orchestrated the crime, all 12 students actively participated in it and were seen laughing and taking pleasure from the victim’s misery,” Saravana Vivek M., Berhampur Superintendent of Police, told The Hindu.
Five students were booked under Section 12 of the POCSO Act, 2012 which has provision of punishment for sexual harassment. “Whoever, commits sexual harassment upon a child shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine,” the Section reads. They were also booked under IT Act for making the video of the incident viral on social media.
“During the course of further investigation, if the accused girls are found to have actively perpetrated the crime, the POCSO Act would be slapped on them as well,” added Mr. Vivek.
Following the incident, the anti-ragging committee of the college convened a meeting and identified the students who had ragged the girl.
Pramilla Khadanga, principal of the college, said, “Based on the recommendation of the committee, we have given compulsory transfer certificates (TCs) to these students. In the TCs, their characters have been assigned ‘bad’ with ragging mentioned as the reason.”