In a solemn remembrance of the birthday of the 17-year-old student who was raped and murdered in Ujire a little more than a year ago, members of the All College Students Association staged a candle light vigil in the city on Friday.
The main demand of the students was to handover the case to the CBI. For Varsha Prabhu, a student of Canara Degree College, a speedy investigation could only be obtained if the CBI took it over. “The real culprits need to be arrested. We want the culprits to be punished,” she said.
Explaining that there was fear among students, especially among girl students, after numerous incidents of sexual assault, Preeti Prabhakar, a student, said: “We need freedom…freedom to walk around without fear.”
Dinakar Shetty, the state president of the Association, said the protests will continue till the “real culprits” were arrested. “CID investigations have been completed in six months or lesser. There is something wrong if the investigation into the rape-and-murder is not completed even one year on,” he said.
However, he said the organisation was “fully behind” Dharmastahala Dharmadhikari D. Veerendra Heggade, against whom allegations of hampering the investigations were levelled by the parents of the victim. “There are certain organisation spreading false information about him and the temple. We condemn this,” he said.
The Association also demanded that a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh be handed over to the parents of the victim.
Meanwhile, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has said it will launch an awareness campaign against atrocities and assaults on women.
Addressing reporters on Friday, K. Ramesh, ABVP State Secretary, said fast-track courts for crimes such as acid attacks, rapes and others should be set up.
Among other demands the organisation listed were stringent punishment, including a minimum of life imprisonment for rape; counselling for sexually-assaulted women and an organisation that follows their case till its logical end; Committee against sexual harassment in colleges.