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7 Feb 2017

Missing student's kin allege FB slur

TT, Feb. 6: The humiliation of being branded a molester on Facebook is to blame for a JU student's disappearance five days ago, his family has said in an FIR that accuses five students of the university, including the woman who was allegedly molested, of running a smear campaign against him.
The brother of the missing MPhil student today lodged the FIR with Jadavpur police station. In the complaint, the five students have been named and accused of making a "defamatory post" on Facebook alleging that the missing student had molested one of them last month.
The brother said in the complaint that the five had chosen a public forum to defame the missing student instead of lodging a complaint with the university's internal complaints committee or the police.
The complaint states: "my brother, being a member of the scheduled tribe, was unable to bear with such unprecedented insult fabricated against him by the assailants hailing from general caste" following a "dispute" related to student politics on the campus.
The Facebook post was made by a students' organisation, United Students' Democratic Front (USDF), on its Facebook page on January 28.
The MPhil student is perceived to be a supporter of a breakaway faction of the USDF. He went missing from the JU main hostel on Thursday morning. His family members had lodged a missing diary on Friday.
The outfit has provided on Facebook a detailed description of the alleged molestation. The missing student's brother described the Facebook post and the reactions it elicited as "trial by social media".
A USDF leader who is among the five said she did not believe "either the police or the ICC could ensure justice" for the molested girl. "Besides, lodging a complaint on Facebook is not new in JU. Last July, an English department student had lodged a molestation complaint on Facebook," she said.
In that case, the accused had been suspended from classes. "No one had complained about the Facebook post then and it even led to punishment, which means it worked," a union leader said.
The molested student told Metro: "I'm the victim but I'm being made into an accused. I stick to my allegation. I had made the FB post but did not expect him to go missing."
She added the allegation that the missing student was defamed because of his caste was "baseless".
She had written in her FB post: "I'm sorry I didn't stop to collect camera footage and.... find proof.... You will have to believe my account that a normal, nice guy friend... is completely capable of violating a woman's body."
Police have started a case under sections of the Schedules Cast and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
According to the rule, an officer of the rank of assistant commissioner has to carry out the probe.
Sources said the students named in the FIR would be summoned and examined.

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