This was a case of mass harassment. Girls from one of Delhi’s top colleges were groped after hoards of men breached all security and entered their grounds during an annual festival on 6th February. SheThePeople brings you a detailed account shared by the student union, to which we have access. The student union of the college released a statement as horrific reports of harassment flooded in.

Account of the Student Union

The festival hosted a concert by Jubin Nautiyal and going by past cases and the expectation of a large crowd, special security arrangements were sought by students of Gargi college. They asked college authorities to arrange police personnel commandos and private security agency (funds for which were collected). A pass system and regulation of entry timings were imposed to control the influx of crowds for Nautiyal’s concert.

“However, they say that there were shortcomings towards action on their demands. There were fewer bouncers and absence of barricading at the gates. Further, the admin retracted from their duties. This lack of security allowed an unsupervised crowd to enter the college premises beyond the deadline.”

Gargi college students have prepared an instagram handle called Gargi Speak Up. Some of the screenshots from there are experiences of women from the event. Please see below.

Gargi college students harassed

What student body said

“The students faced harassment and suffocation in large numbers amidst the crowd. 8000-10,000 individuals were present in the college.” According to the students, the police did nothing to control the situation. As per a statement released by the student body, “men stood on benches and passed comments at women, groped them, pushed them and touched them throughout the concert.” The statement also mentioned that the “Principal of Gargi College reacted to the situation by saying that students shouldn’t come to the fest if they feel unsafe.”

Students took to twitter in numbers to give their accounts. One of them said “We the students of Gargi College do not want things to be politicised at this moment.” This was said in reaction to social media posts that emerged saying BJP affiliated people entered the crowd.

A Timeline

Past Is Not History: At Gargi’s Fest in 2019, numerous reports of sexual harassment came in. However, students say that after a complaint with the Internal Complaints Committee the issue was dismissed and deemed to be only a security concern.

Pass System: For precaution a pass system was introduced that would regulate the entry of male students and maintain some crowd control for the concert night on 6th February. The entry was to be suspended post 4:30 pm.

The first two days of the fest were smooth. Members of administration and an organization committee were set up(consisting of student volunteers) to establish a security check at the gate. On the last day however, the student union says, OC members were pressurized due to crowd influx and had to be retracted after inept support from the college staff .

Men Walk In: Scores of men walked into the college premised without necessary security checks as staff responsible was reportedly absent at college gates. The entry continued unsupervised for as long as the event happened. Videos of men jumping the main college gate and college walls have also surfaced

Drunk men:  arena became crowded and drunk and disorderly men harassed students in large numbers. The student union says that police and bouncers present on ground were indifferent. It was further said that students and teachers still tried to handle the influx at gate.

Students Reach Out: Representatives of the student body approached the College Principle, Dr Promila Kumar, regarding the issues. It was reported that she responded by saying that students shouldn’t come to the fest if they feel unsafe.

Next day, students further took to social media to narrate personal anecdotes around harassment and security breach. They are now questioning the college administration and the principle for they were responsible for their security.

What now?

Students have planned to conduct a strike on Monday against the college administration that has not been able to guarantee them safety. Also, many are ready to file an FIR and release a letter to the principal questioning her efficiency.

Is this what we are down to? Now educational institutes aren’t safe either? On top of it our authorities cannot even take responsibility of keeping a college safe and friendly? What does this say of our security? Isn’t this a dark reminder to every woman in India that she just isn’t safe anywhere. 

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Vipashyana Dubey is an intern with SheThePeople

 

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