The alleged ragging incident at Berhampur’s government-run Binayak Acharya College took a fresh turn after Berhampur Police charged all five of the students who had been taken into custody earlier on Wednesday with violating the POCSO Act.
All of the accused had cases filed against them under section 12 of the POCSO Act in addition to the IT Act; two of the accused are minors who will appear before the Juvenile Justice Board.
Two of them attend the higher secondary school at the institution, whereas the others are Plus III pupils. Abhishek Nahak, a Plus III final year student, is the primary suspect.
The victim, a juvenile, is a Plus II first year student who joined the college a month prior.
Fourteen kids, including 12 teenagers, were seen ragging the victim in the video that went viral and incited fury.
The college required all of them to have transfer certificates (TCs), which were students of Plus II and III. No student can apply for admission to a college or obtain a degree from another educational institution at this time.
According to the college’s principal, Pramila Khadanga, “Police have started criminal proceedings against the five offenders, and the college has ordered to hand over mandatory TC to all 12 students who are seen in the video on Friday for disciplinary reasons.”
The choice was made during a meeting between the institution’s anti-ragging and disciplinary action committees and Berhampur SP Sarvana Vivek M.
On Wednesday, a five to seven minute long video of the victim being raped by a bunch of students and being sexually abused by one of them went viral.
When Berhampur Police learned about it, they alerted the principal right away and apprehended five of the suspects seen in the video.
The student arm of the ruling party also proposed Nahak for election to the college’s campus committee. Nahak is apparently a member of the Biju Chhatra Janata Dal. According to sources, he allegedly asked one of the males in the group, who was also a Plus II first-year student, to kiss the victim as the others tormented her and videotaped the incident.
This is the second criminal prosecution that Nahak has faced after being detained in March of this year for groping and abusing a woman in his neighbourhood in Berhampur’s Bada Bazaar district out of personal animosity. On bond, he was released.
“At first, we believed that three of them were children, but age checks revealed that just two of them were under the age of 18.
The incident happened on Tuesday during lunchtime close to the college gate, and the video became viral that evening, according to the SP.
While initially a ragging case was filed, Sarvana stated that the traumatised victim didn’t consent to disclose the incident under the POCSO Act until after receiving counselling.
Within the next few days, the SP plans to launch a specialised helpline that will only be used to report incidences of ragging in Berhampur’s educational institutions.
A DSP ranking officer will manage the helpline, and any reported cases of ragging will be investigated right away, according to the SP.