The Osmania University (OU) police have paused their investigation into a case involving the alleged sexual assault of a female student at Hyderabad’s English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) citing a ‘lack of evidence’. The student had complained that she was sexually assaulted by two men near the Old Health Centre on campus at 10 pm while she was out for a walk. Though the police say they don’t have enough evidence, sources in the university questioned this version of the police and alleged that both the police and the administration were in a hurry to close the case.
Sources in the police told TNM that the CCTV cameras did not record anything incriminatory. “No accused was identifiable from the CCTV footage and the survivor did not recognise anyone either. The medical examination fell short as well,” said a police official, adding that the final report would be submitted to the Nampally court in due course. The police have questioned several students and faculty but are said to have hit a wall with the investigation.
A source in the University countered this saying that the initial medical report did record injuries. The student was first taken to the university’s health centre and then taken by some of her peers to Yashoda Hospital at 1 am, where the preliminary health report was written. Twenty-six hours later, police officials took her statement and sent her to a Bharosa centre. As word of the assault spread across campus on the intervening night of October 18, students mobilised and called for the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Suresh Kumar and EFLU’s Proctor T Samson. The protests that followed had brought the university to a boil, raising questions about student safety and administrative apathy.
The police also say that two people who lived in the staff quarters nearby did not hear any sound of struggle at that time of the night despite their doors being open. The university source questioned this version and said that those who live in the university accommodation near the place of assault are professors who are also senior administrators of the university. There is apprehension that with the University administration taking a stand that the victim’s version was questionable, there may have been pressure on these witnesses.
The case pertains to a woman studying at EFLU who alleged sexual assault by two unknown persons on October 18. The survivor was found at 10:27 pm by one male and one female student near the now dormant Old Health Centre. By 11:30 pm, friends of the survivor were informed, following which they approached the Health Centre. Students close to the survivor had remarked that the University administration did not respond to the assault even when they got word of it.
The survivor was sent to a Bharosa Centre in Hyderabad the following day where she was counselled.
Based on her complaint, the police had registered an FIR under sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).