A girl student of a premier science education institute was confronted by a 19-year-old youngster who stripped in front of her and attempted to harass her. The student, hailing from Punjab, said she had come out of her hostel at Chavadimukku around 4.30 p.m. on Sunday when the youngster, identified as Vishnu, 19, a student of the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, confronted her on the roadside and stripped himself and fled.

The shocked girl summoned her friends and as they were comforting her, the accused returned, only to be chased by the girls and another resident passer- by.

He was traced to a house nearby, where he turned apologetic. When the girl was about to call the police, he tried to flee again but was caught by local people, by which time the police came.

The girl, who went to the Sreekaryam police station, accused the police of trying to dissuade her from going ahead with a complaint. She told The Hindu that police officers tried to convince her that since she was not a Keralite, it would be tough for her to carry on with the court proceedings.

However, when she and her friends insisted, a complaint was registered.

Sreekaryam SI Rajesh Kumar, however, denied the allegation, stating that he had told the girl that he would arrest the accused even if she did not lodge a complaint. “But she wanted him remanded immediately. This being a bailable offence, we did what we had to do by the book,” he said.

The accused, who was arrested on Sunday night, was let off on bail on Monday.