'We Stand Against Gauhati HC Order': IIT Students, Alumni Express 'Disgust' after Rape Accused Granted Bail
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In a statement issued on Friday, IIT alumni and students expressed their "dejection, displeasure and disgust" after an IIT Guwahati student accused of raping a fellow student on campus was granted bail by the Gauhati High Court in an order issued on August 13. The court called both students – including the perpetrator – "future assets", and granted the latter bail.
In their statement, titled 'Collective Expression of Disappointment and Displeasure', the IIT students and alumni wrote that it was an "extremely distressing development that threatens the notion that the country has made any progress vis a vis gender equality and justice. Concessions like these, when given to the purported perpetrators of sexual violence, severely undermine the gravity of these crimes and reinforce the idea that one can get away with these acts and look forward to their 'bright futures'."
The students added that the aforementioned argument could not be reason for "any relief in cases of heinous crimes like rape. Such developments also raise doubts about the safety of campuses, especially with regard to women. With sympathies being extended to alleged perpetrators due to their academic calibre, this order by the High Court could take away the hopes of many of receiving justice from the courts, and can make campuses seem like unsafe environments."
Earlier, while hearing a bail application by the accused B.Tech student, Justice Ajit Borthakur said there was a clear prima facie case as alleged against the petitioner based on all the evidence. "However, as the investigation in the case is completed and both the informant/victim girl and the accused are the state's future assets being talented students pursuing technical courses at the IIT, Guwahati,...continuation of detention of the accused...if charges are framed, may not be necessary," the order said.
The court in its order on August 13 noted that both students were young – in the age group of 19 to 21. "A perusal of the list of witnesses too, cited in the charge-sheet, this Court finds no possibility of the accused tampering with their evidence or influencing them directly or indirectly, if released on bail," it added. Accordingly, the high court granted bail to the accused for Rs 30,000 bond along with two sureties.
"It is pertinent to be mentioned that it is judicially well settled that while dealing with a bail application, the Court is not called upon to discuss the merits or demerits of the evidence available against the accused. "...but some reasons for prima facie concluding while bail is being granted need to be indicated in brief," the court had said. On the night of March 28, the accused had allegedly raped the girl, who was rescued the next day and admitted to the hospital. The accused was arrested on April 3.
"...we stand against the abovementioned order by the Honourable High Court and demand that this specific ground for granting bail to the student in question be reconsidered. We also hope that there is deeper introspection about the possible impact of such statements on the ideas of women’s safety, justice and fair accountability," the students and alumni said in their letter.
With PTI Inputs
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