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The SFI members had apparently questioned Jijesh's presence on the campus and demanded to know why he was sitting with the girls.

SFI turns moral police in Kerala attacks girl students seen with male friendScreengrab/ Courtesy: MediaOne TV
news Crime Friday, February 10, 2017 - 16:01

Three students belonging to the Students Federation of India (SFI) were on Thursday accused of assaulting a couple of their female college-mates and their male friend on the University College campus in Thiruvananthapuram.

According to a joint complaint filed by Asmitha Kabeer, Soorya Gayathri and TS Jijesh with the Cantonment police, the unprovoked assault took place when the trio had come to the college campus on Thursday evening to watch a theatre play.

Coming down heavily on the moral policing by SFI, Asmitha told The News Minute that Jijesh was assaulted for "sitting next to girls". Soorya and Asmitha were also molested by the attackers, the latter claimed.

But SFI leaders told the media that Jijesh had misbehaved with a woman student and that there was no violence from their end. 

Elaborating on the events that led to the alleged assault, Asmitha said that Soorya and she had taken their friend (not a student of the college) Jijesh to their campus to watch a play.

Thrissur-based Jijesh works in the Malayalam film industry, while Soorya is a second-year undergraduate Philosophy student and Asmitha is a final-year Malayalam student. 

"It was the first time Jijesh was visiting our campus, and he had really liked the atmosphere there. We pulled out three chairs and sat in the back row to watch the play. Jijesh had his hand casually kept over my chair. A few minutes into the play, three SFI members walked in and took Jijesh away. When he returned, he was visibly irritated and asked us to meet him outside after the play. While he prepared to leave the place, we tagged along to ask what had upset him so," Asmitha recalls.

The SFI members had apparently questioned Jijesh's presence on the campus and demanded to know why he was sitting with the girls. 

"While we stood outside the venue discussing what happened, a few more SFI members came and began questioning us. When Soorya and I demanded to know why they were interfering, they threatened that Jijesh would suffer for every word that we utter. Holding me by the collar, and pushing Soorya on her chest, they locked us out, shutting the college gate, while they thrashed Jijesh inside a room. All this, while the rest of the students and the Vice Principal chose to remain mute spectators," rages Asmitha. 

While Asmitha has never been part of any student politics, Soorya was a former SFI member who had recently quit after she pointed out the hypocrisy inherent in their actions. 

"Those who protest against moral policing outside the campus do the same inside. Soorya had once questioned this, which had irked them. Maybe, this was their way of retaliation," Asmitha opines. 

Cantonment Sub-Inspector Shaji told The News Minute that a case has been filed against Thazleem, Sujith and Ratheesh of the SFI under various sections of the IPC including sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147, 148 (rioting), 149, 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation). 

Asmitha however alleges that the police did not pay heed to her complaint of molestation:

"At the time of filing the FIR, we did not know that the police had not included sections for molestation. It is only today (Friday) that we came to know of this. We have decided to file a complaint with the State's Women's Rights Commission.”

According to her, the police had responded in a lukewarm manner: "Initially, the police sought to pass it off as something that happens all the time at the University College.”

Meanwhile, another student complained to the College Principal Dr. MS Vinayachandran, accusing Soorya and Asmitha of bringing an outsider to the campus. 

Shabana, a final-year English Literature student, said in her two-page complaint that she had found Jijesh and Asmitha together in an empty classroom, and they had verbally insulted her when she questioned them. 

"Once other students gathered, the man said that he was an employee of a television channel, and that a police-case would tarnish his image," reads the hand-written complaint accessed by Reporter TV

 

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