On 23rd November, 2018 a second-year male engineering student from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology Bhubaneswar (KIIT-B) Tech School made lewd comments about a fifth-year female law student from KIIT Law School. When the woman raised her voice about the harassment, the entire law college gathered in her support. The harasser fled from the situation.
When the college authorities arrived, instead of taking action against the harasser, they advised that he remain inside the hostel. The women students got furious and, after taking permission from the authorities, stormed the boys hostel. The harasser was brought out and asked to apologise to the woman in front of the whole college.
The next day, i.e., on 24th November, the harasser, along with 100-150 people consisting of B.Tech students and local hired goons reached the premises of KIIT Law Campus, armed with sticks, stones, beer bottles, bats and knives. They entered the parking area and severely hurt whoever present there.
Then they entered rooms of several people in the boys’ hostels with knives and sticks and beat them up badly. Around 20 people were severely injured and 2 of them are now in the ICU in critical condition. Most of the people were beaten on their heads, clearly ascertaining their intent of causing severe damage.
When everyone from the boys’ hostel had evacuated, the B.Tech students started throwing stones inside the law college from outside the gate, leading to many people further getting hurt. In sheer self defence, the law school also started throwing stones.
The harasser, in the spur of the moment and under the influence of substances, entered the law college with a stick to beat up the law students, thinking that the B.Tech people were right behind him. However, none of the B.Tech students were behind him.
The law students however, did not do anything to him even after he came inside the hostel. It was only after the harasser started beating one of the law students that everyone beat up the harasser. A few law students who were concerned about the situation turning severe took the harasser inside the hostel and kept him safe from the rage of the crowd.
The police and the CRPF were informed, but by the time they arrived, over an hour later, the major damage was already done. The police and CRPF remained deployed outside the law hostel for the rest of the day, while two B.Tech hostels were vacated. During this entire siege, acid attack threats and other sexually explicit violative messages were continuously sent to female law students by the B.Tech students.
At around 3 AM, fake rumours were spread by the B.Tech students that the harasser who was beaten up by the law students, had died. An agitated mob of 3000-4000 B.Tech students were ready to attack the law school again despite the police force deployed outside the law campus.
The police immediately declared sine die and the students of the law school were asked to vacate the hostels at 3 AM at midnight. The students (both girls and boys) had no place to go at night as the hotels were full because of the upcoming Hockey World Cup. Most students spent their night in railway stations and airports. Some roamed all night on streets trying to find a safe place to stay. Some people went to their friends’ local guardian’s place.
Many B.Tech students are now uploading pictures and memes alluding to the fact that this entire riot was merely to postpone their exams and establish their superiority over the law students. Different stories crop up each day. One version says that the boy had passed lewd comments and that they had been ready to hand him over to the authorities. However, they only got furious because apparently the law students came inside the boys’ hostel and broke beer bottles on the harasser’s head even after the apology. This rumour is patently false – the harasser was seen uninjured and completely healthy the next day, when the riot broke out.
Another story says that the male student never harassed the woman at all and that it was only the woman who created a scene as she wanted to ‘seek attention’. The hashtags that the B.Tech people are trying to promote, #JusticeforJunior, have a million different stories behind them that concoct sympathy for the harasser, none of which have any plausible proof.
The law students have been suffering, and we fear for our safety. The engineering students outnumber the law department ten to one. We had to leave our hostels at 3 AM in the morning. We lived in constant fear of being assaulted by the engineering students. We are constantly being sent threatening and abusive messages.
We raised our voice against sexual harassment and rather became victims ourselves. Please keep spreading the news and support us. Help us get justice. If you’d like to support us, please sign this petition here.
This article was posted by a law student at KIIT Law School who wishes to remain anonymous.
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