With crimes against women and oppressed genders at an all-time high in India, and our fight towards gender justice intensifying every day, an educational institution should be the last place where women and queer persons should feel endangered.
JNU as a campus has been claimed to be one of the safest places for women in the country, not just in Delhi. But the recent incidents that took place a few days ago on the occasion of Holi clearly indicate otherwise.
It is shocking and disturbing for us to know that women and queer persons inside a premier institution such as JNU cannot even stay in peace within their own hostels. Half-naked men were found parading within the premises of women’s hostels inside the JNU campus on the occasion of Holi. As this brazen act of obscenity was taking place, not a single Cyclops guard assigned to these hostels came forward to stop this from happening.
This incident has raised questions not only for the JNU administration but also for the men residing within the campus. When women students outraged about the incident, many male students, presumably participants of the parade, have claimed that the parade was “an entertaining event for the girls residing in the hostels, and had they been uncomfortable, they would have reported their discomfort immediately to these men.”
It is unbelievable that despite being one of the most politically “progressive” campuses in the country, men in this campus still need to be explained how such acts are not “entertainment” but an aggressive and intimidating show of power. They do not indicate any sense of a safe environment for women or queer persons if they are subjected to such a display of obscenity within the very spaces where they reside and consider secure.
It is important for us to question the sense of impunity that encourages men to parade half-naked outside women’s hostels in broad daylight without any fear of facing any consequences for their actions.
“The erosion that the ethos of this campus has faced ever since the GSCASH was dismantled by the JNU administration is palpable in the everyday violation of safe spaces for women and persons of oppressed genders. It is time that there is a conscious attempt by the JNU community to reflect on the deterioration of gender sensitivity on this campus and thwart the constant attempts by such men to threaten, vilify and mock women’s movements and to establish their dominance in public places by displaying a show of their toxic masculinity through such acts,” read a statement on the group’s Facebook page. ”
What transpired in the name of Holi on this campus was shameful, disgusting and disrespectful. We, the Women of JNU, condemn these acts in the strongest words possible and demand that the JNU Administration take action against such public obscenity and criminal intimidation.
JNU was considered to be one of the safest places for women in the country, not just in Delhi. But not anymore.
-Women of JNU