New Delhi: A PhD scholar of Jawaharlal Nehru University, who is also a leader of the  Left-wing student organisation All India Students’ Association (AISA), was accused of rape by a 28-year-old female JNU student on Sunday. 

The victim, a first-year Ph.D student, has filed a rape case against Anmol Ratan, a JNU student and AISA activist. In her complaint, the woman has alleged that Ratan gave her a spiked drink and went on to rape her at his hostel room on Saturday. 

According to a statement issued by the AISA on Sunday, the accused student leader has been expelled from the primary membership of the the student organisation.

b’Representational Image | Source: PTI’

According to the complaint filed by the woman at Vasant Kunj (North) police station, she had posted a status update on her Facebook profile asking if anyone has a copy of the recent Marathi blockbuster ‘Sairat’ movie. Apparently, the accused messaged her saying that he had a copy. Thereafter, he took her to Brahamputra Hostel, where the accused stays. 

She said in the complaint that Ratan offered her a spiked drink and allegedly raped her. He also threatened her with dire consequences and asked her to not report the matter. However, the woman approached the police on Sunday and a case of rape was registered.

JNU insiders said Ratan is a “known activist” on the campus and had of late developed friction with the AISA leadership at the university. “Though his affiliation AISA is not new, he had differences with other leaders of the party,” said a member of AISA on condition of anonymity. Accused Ratan could not be reached for comments.  

“AISA takes serious note of the fact that Anmol Ratan, a leading activist of AISA, is facing a criminal complaint of sexual assault….AISA will be unflinching for the principles of gender justice even if it involves a leading member of the organisation. We stand by the complainant and will extend all possible support in her fight for justice,” AISA National President Sucheta De said in a statement on Sunday.   

Condemning the incident which has “completely shaken” the JNU community and “tarnished” the image of the varsity”, JNU administration has expressed its support to the victim. 

“JNU always stands for dignity of the individual, respect for women and democratic values. It is in this light that the JNU Administration strongly condemns an incident of heinous rape in a hostel in the campus on 20 August 2016. This has completely shaken the JNU Community and has tarnished the image of the university. The Administration does not tolerate such incidences and resolves to take appropriate measures to prevent them in future,” said Poonam Kudaisya, JNU Public Relations Officer in a press release. 

Expressing empathy with the victim, members of JNU faculty have also appealed to students to respect the privacy of the complainant and protect her identity.  

b’Representational Image | Source: Reuters’

“Such complaints have been made from JNU before, even as recently as a few months ago, but with the JNUSU elections around the corner and our recent troubles with the state, there is a real danger that prurient media interest in all kinds of details will be fanned. Every student who has stood with JNU should stand with a respect for the privacy of the complainant and a refusal to participate in creating an atmosphere that will be hostile and painful for the complainant. Whoever she is, we must together wish her health and courage and give her the assurance that she is not alone,” senior  Ayesha Kidwai, Professor at JNU’s Centre for Linguistics, in a Facebook post on Sunday.  

Feature image source: PTI