Women Harassed At Gargi College Fest, Here’s What Students Are Saying
Women shared incidents of sexual harassment at Gargi College during its annual festival. Reports emerged on social media of how a complete lack of security checks led men (mostly non students) to enter the festival grounds and grope women. “Reverie was a traumatic experience for most of us. There were drunk middle aged men harassing us and molesting us,” said one girl on her instagram post. Students said they had reached out to the college authorities for help but didn’t find them responsive to the situation.
“Imagine being on a large ground with no possible place to walk, with drunk men (who were not even college students) who physically and mentally assaulted college girls and shouting Jai Shri Ram while groping women,” said another account on social media. Social media screenshots shared on Twitter share horrific experiences. Read these screenshots below. SheThePeople, however, could not verify these accounts independently. They were widely available on social media. A students union comment later said “they didn’t want to politicise the matter” as several posts with such political statements (see screenshots below) emerged.
Mayhem happened at #GargiCollege today and literally no one is talking about it. Our girls were assaulted by drunk men. Amplify, take it to right channels please. @richa_singh @iamrana @abhisar_sharma @aaqibrk @hussainhaidry @tanwer_m pic.twitter.com/XXyDaVGVeQ
— Saumya Kulshreshtha (@Saumyakul) February 8, 2020
- Lack of crowd control and security checked at the college gates led to an unsafe environment at the premises.
- Several girls have reported cases of harassment, molestation, men masturbating at them and mental trauma.
- Students are questioning the college authorities and blaming it for not being alert or responsive.
As per reports from students, the entry pass system failed because large groups of men rammed college gates and broke into the college premises without any resistance from security. “My male friend still had the entry pass with him when he came inside. No one checked or frisked him” said, one student. Additionally, videos of men jumping across the gate and walls of the college surfaced on social media. This can be seen on the featured image of this story.
Lack of Security
Amidst the massive influx of crowd, students said that they were suffocated and it was impossible to navigate and ensure the safety of their friends. Even though the entry timings were restricted till 4:30 pm, people were reportedly entering beyond the said timings. Geetika Aggarwal a student at Gargi College said – “We saw men breaking the gates of the college and entering. In the presence of a teacher. A car was placed near the gate to block people’s entry and men were seen climbing over it and some even spoke about damaging it”.
Reports of Harassment
Scores of girls spoke about the harassment they as they were exposed to an un-administered crowd. “Drunk and disorderly conduct was seen at the premises.” Several girls reported being man-handled, sleazily touched by men and groped. Girls were securing stalls with tables and giving shelter to other girls who were suffering in the crowd. Later they formed a human chain to relocate to safer areas.
A second-year student at Gargi said, “One guy kept touching me and when I retaliated he and his friends smirked, I was even grabbed by men I couldn’t see, my skirt was lifted with being told how I was asking for it with the way I was dressed”. Another girl from the first year reported how she saw a girl was standing near the entry gate when a group of guys walked passed her and threw money on her.
What is being done now?
“Aggrieved students went to the principal only to receive her apathy and insensitive comments,” said a student. Such reports of misconduct have become an annual ritual, especially after events at all women’s colleges. Students reported breaches of security and cases of harassment in the years 2018 and 2019 to the ICC. However, these complaints were said to be dismissed.
Students are questioning the college authorities and demanding safer fests or no fests at all for Gargi. The student union of Gargi has called for a strike and sent out a statement showing concern. Gargi’s mental health initiative, Izhaar is reaching out to students who faced unfortunate experiences.
The festival was held on 6th February.
Article has been constantly updated with information and social media posts by eye witnesses and students. Picture credits are social media.