In a shocking incident, students of Gargi College of Delhi University alleged that a group of men barged in the campus and harassed the students during the college’s annual festival on Thursday, 6th February 2020.
According to the college’s Student Union, the incident took place on the third day of the fest. Restrictions were in place and men were barred from attending the event. The event was open for boys studying in other Delhi University colleges, and they were given passes. However, their identity cards could not be checked, as the group broke the gates to enter the campus. Allegedly, a large crowd of men barged into the campus after breaking open the gate, and started molesting girls, catcalling them, and passing lewd comments.
The students narrated the horror of molestation on various social media platforms, which put across a strong question on the strength of law and order.
A student requesting anonymity told IANS: “I can’t confirm the allegations of molestation, but a large a group of drunken men had dropped in and manhandled students… We will hold a discussion and stage a protest.”
Further, many students gave the account of the misdeeds on social media, stating, “There were drunk, middle-aged men harassing us, molesting us, and masturbating at us… I was groped thrice by a group of men inside that crowd and when I screamed they laughed…”
In an interview with IndiaToday.in, a Gargi student, on condition of anonymity, said, “The men came in trucks and entered the campus around 4:30 pm during the fest. They continued to harass the girls for several hours and the ordeal continued till around 9 pm.”
In another social media post, it has been mentioned, “Girls were groped, locked in washrooms, stalked to the nearby Green Park metro station, catcalled, eve-teased, and misbehaved with during the festival.”
Of all this, however, the most surprising thing is that the entire ordeal so far has come only from the victim students, and the college authority has maintained a very stoic stand. The college Principal Promila Kumar told IANS,“We had a huge security arrangement, including police, bouncers and even commandos along with the teaching and non-teaching staff. No one came to us and reported any such incident. We were taking rounds in the crowd. However, there is no doubt that it was very crowded. We were very vigilant but we couldn’t see anything of this sort”. She also added,
“The event was open for boys studying in other DU colleges. We had police, commandos and bouncers on campus, and staff was also on duty. There was an arena in the campus meant only for girls. If they were outside that, it was their personal choice.“
So far, there has been no complaint filed by the college authority. One of the students even claimed that when she approached the principal, the latter clearly said that had she found the atmosphere to be that unsafe, she should not have come to the fest herself. However, Kumar straightway termed this as a false allegation.
So where are we as a nation heading? Exactly one moth ago, on 5th January 2020, there was a horrific incident of similar intrusion. A group of masked people barged into the JNU campus, thereby leaving the students and teacher injured. However, not even a single arrest has been made since then. So, hasn’t there an obvious precedent been set, where antisocial elements and goons will have all the liberty to attack students in any college/university premises?
The central government and the Union Home Minister have to answer when this will come to an end and how? There is no denial to the fact that with these incidents, students and parents across the country will now live in terror. Who is to say that what has happened in universities and colleges now, will not extend to school campuses later?
The most intriguing fact is that in each of these cases, there has been an indication of an involvement of hyper-nationalist groups. So, is it too wrong to infer that they are being fuelled well for creating such ruckus every time? It is high time that people collectively raise their voice for the students of this country. Their safety matters way more than their political affiliation. This is a clear example of induced lawlessness, as the Delhi Police has also exhibited substantial apathy and passive behaviour in making no arrest.
Let’s not forget, today it’s them, tomorrow it would be us.
Featured image credit: DUBeat