CHENNAI: Four days after an IIT M student complained that her friend, a woman, was sexually assaulted by an unidentified man when she was cycling on an ill-lit stretch, the management on Friday said it has begun an investigation.
According to the complaint, in the intervening night of Sunday and Monday, the student was near NAC on the campus when the man, who appeared to be in his twenties, pounced on her. She fell down and he sexually attacked her. He screams did not get any response, and the girl managed to fight off the man and ran to the hostel with injuries. The IIT-M management, which did not file a police complaint, said in a statement that the “student was not interested in filing a police complaint”.
IIT said it organised an identification parade, but the survivor-student couldn’t identify her attacker. “An incident happened … which was reported to the institute about two days after the incident by a friend of the student. The institute immediately began an investigation, screened camera footage and shared pictures of almost 300 people, who matched the description given by the student. However, she is yet to positively identify anyone. Identification parade of over 35 contract labourers who were on duty that night was also conducted but the student was again not able to identify,” the statement read.
The institute said the gates of IIT M are adequately secured and a security guard is posted every 100m. The institute also has buddy system in place and facility to call for institute bus along with a security staff at odd hours. The student is not interested in filing a police complaint. The investigation is continuing, it said.
As per the friend’s complaint to the institute, the guards didn’t come to the survivor’s rescue when the attack happened. “After a long terrifying struggle, she managed to fight him off and ran back on foot, injured and mentally scarred, with a broken cycle. It was through sheer luck that my friend managed to escape this vile encounter, which could have ended much worse,” the complaint stated.
Nilesh J Vasa, Dean of Students (DoST), stated in an email to all the students to ensure they took safety precautions when they travel alone on the campus at night and to reach out to the security section immediately for quick action. He said they would work on a mobile application to help students inform of their location to the security during emergencies.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme court directives on cases related to sexual assault)