New Delhi: Students of Gargi College, one of Delhi University’s premier all-women institutes, have alleged that a large number of men “barged” into their campus and harassed them during their annual fest this week.
The students allege that the men began entering the campus without passes and IDs around 3.30 pm Thursday, the last day of the three-day-long fest, which is called ‘Reverie’.
Several students have alleged that the men were intoxicated and smoking marijuana on the premises. They also took to social media to allege that their security had been compromised by the administration’s “inaction”.
A student, who didn’t wish to be named, told ThePrint that all students were given an extra pass through which they could bring a male member to the campus.
“But every hour, there was an influx of over 300 to 400 men through the gates. The security personnel didn’t try to stop them,” she said. “Some of the men also tried to scale the walls of the campus to get in.”
“Some of the men were middle-aged; some were over 40,” said Mehreen Shah, a third-year student at Gargi College. “They basically pushed over the gate to come in. Despite being an all-girls college, there were more men than women on campus that day.”
“There was a person who touched me on my shoulders and said it was too crowded so he needed some support for walking,” Shah added. “They were making excuses to justify touching women inappropriately.”
Another female student said “there was a woman at whom money was thrown by these drunk men”.
“Many girls got molested. One student also got trampled upon and was injured,” she added.
Some students also alleged that they were followed all the way to the Metro station from campus.
ThePrint couldn’t independently verify the allegations. Acting Gargi College principal Promila Kumar was quoted as saying in The Indian Express that she hadn’t received any complaints.
“No complaint has been filed. The event was open for boys studying in other DU colleges. We had police, commandos and bouncers on campus, and staff were also on duty. There was an arena in the campus meant only for girls. If they were outside that, it was their personal choice,” a report in The Indian Express quoted Kumar as saying.
The students are accusing the college administration of inaction, claiming that Kumar rebuffed student grievances regarding the incident. A student alleged that Kumar said in a personal interaction, “If you feel unsafe, don’t come to these fests.”
Another student said Kumar asked the security personnel to remove the “badmaash (mischievous)” boys from the premises. “This statement was of no consequence as there were so many people,” she said. “How would one figure out who is causing a ruckus?”
Students allege that a similar incident also occurred last year at the same fest. “We were traumatised last year too,” said a student who did not want to be named. “I was personally harassed the last time. When we filed a complaint, it was treated as a security issue not a sexual harassment one.”
Students are also angry with Kumar’s claim that there had been no complaints. The Gargi College Student Union has now called an indefinite strike starting Monday in light of the principal’s remarks.