Trigger Warning: Contains distressing imagery
The students of the University of Delhi’s IP College observed its annual cultural fest, Shruti’ 23 on 27th March. College and university fests are the most memorable days of students’ lives. However, on the second day, 28th March 2023 several men climbed the walls of the IP college’s campus to enter the fest.
The college had already kept E-Pass-based entries, though after being barred due to overcrowding, these men climbed the walls, harassed students, physically abused and claimed the spaces exclusively meant for women.
“I was on my volunteer duty checking bags. The crowd started increasing around 3:15 or so. I was closer to the line for boys to enter. Suddenly, I saw a car along with an auto rickshaw coming towards us, and the college gates got closed. You know when in a stampede, that sudden push occurs. I felt that from behind. Even after this, the car started moving backwards and didn’t stop at all. And I along with others started falling behind“, a volunteer who is a student of the college told FII.
“A student of the college was even hospitalised. (*Another student confirmed this and further mentioned they had a panic attack and were taken to the hospital then.) Many of these men were singing suggestive songs and during all this when I was hurt I called out and said, ‘Hey, you are hurting me’. To which these men commented in a demeaning manner, brother does not push, madam’s chest hurts. It was such a traumatising day for us“, the volunteer adds.
She added, “The police came when more than half of the stampede had already happened”. She demanded action against the car driver too, as she mentioned how the stampede worsened because of it.
Another student who volunteered for the fest mentioned to FII, “I literally saw 10 people falling on top of a girl, and I could only see her hands reaching out. Everyone started barging in. I was kicked out to the sides while given duty at the college gates. Slowly the crowd started getting worse. No one was listening and the police weren’t there.”
She even mentioned how she was asked to, “Get all the girls out of the college.” And all that remained were those rowdy boys. In fact, it was the volunteers, a few union members, guards and non-faculty staff who were doing an excellent job of not letting those goons in. But when they needed help there was none offered by the police. No action was taken against the men at that time who were there both inside and outside of the campus.
The reason, why such incidents cannot be single-handedly looked at by just questioning the ruckus created by goons, is because every time they simply get away with it by saying everything happened due to overcrowding. But, how did the overcrowding happen in the first place? Why weren’t those goons who climbed the college walls thrown out then and there?
Around 8 pm, singer Asees Kaur’s concert happened anyway. After the incident, many students reportedly questioned how women were instead evacuated from their own institution. In an Instagram story, a student shared how those who couldn’t find their way out had to lock themselves in the classrooms. While these elements stormed the campus meant for gender minorities, claiming the space as their own. Be it the girls’ hostel or the washrooms, they didn’t stop. Students even used social media to express their concerns about how they had been left at the mercy of these goons, as long as they were not inside the premises of the campus.
The news, mentioned statements of a police officer registering a First Information Report (FIR) under Indian Penal Code sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) at the Civil Lines police station.
However, many students along with the student organisation, All India Students’ Association (AISA) protested in front of the college gate demanding immediate arrest of the miscreants who trespassed the college campus and disrupted the peaceful environment of their educational spaces.
According to the Police, as reported by Ommcom News they will record statements of the girls. As of now, as the report mentions they have lodged a case and have detained seven alleged accused. As Hindustan Times reported, Deputy Police Commissioner (north) Sagar Singh Kalsi said that Section 188 of IPC was added to the FIR because the gathering of students outside the college violated the code of criminal procedure’s (CrPC’s) section 144 (preventing unlawful assembly) that was invoked in Civil Lines area due to the ongoing Delhi assembly session.
“We have detained seven male students and are questioning them. All of them are from Delhi University. They had gone to attend the fest that was open to women as well as male students of the varsity. The college had obtained permission from us for organising the fest. We had deployed police personnel to handle any law and order situation,” said Kalsi.
But students through social media complained that there is usually a police van present in front of the campus but the incident still occurred. Even if the police will take action later, what scares them the most are those visuals of people responsible for ensuring safety, enjoying and dancing in Singer Asees Kaur’s concert in the fest.
A student mentioned, “many of my friends came from NCR, Noida, Ghaziabad and were really scared to travel by metro too after the incident.” Students are even agitated to see Singer Asees Kaur’s response on her Instagram story who thanked authorities for handling the incident “so well” rather than calling out the goons who harassed students and made the space unsafe for the women.
“I do not ever want to be near a crowd of men again. I hope the administration drowns in the shame of enabling this. The hooligans are now invading our spaces and our bodies.” mentioned another student of the college who shared her rage through her Instagram story.
Some students even mentioned that guards were slapped by the goons.
Also Read: ABVP Wreaks Havoc In Satyavati College In A Display Of Toxic Masculinity
A widespread response on social media has been observed regarding the incident. Students of the college have demanded the administration take strict and immediate actions. This is not the only case happening; previously other women’s colleges like Miranda House, Lady Shri Ram and Gargi College have observed this hooliganism.
Students question why silence prevails and why incidents like these continue to happen every now and then without any arrests. The moral policing and conditioning of women to ‘behave and ensure their safety‘ is instead the first thing that happens after such cases.
However, such elements continue to disrupt the environment. Women are still questioned after all this that they face. They are questioned as to why they open up their spaces for men, but to such questions, there is only one answer. Why aren’t men morally policied to behave rather than women being questioned and told what to do?
Also Read: Why Questioning The Relevance Of Women And Gender Minority Colleges Is Irrelevant—The Curious Case of Delhi University
Some even after all the ruckus that happened enjoyed the event showing their ‘grave concern‘ by commenting on their socials, “feeling lucky to have waited till the last moment” while women of the college were left with no option but to leave.
Some students who protested were detained and taken to the Burari police station but have been released. In addition, the students are questioning and called for the principal who was not present to address the students’ concerns the day after the incident happened.
In the latest development, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has taken Suo Moto cognisance and issued a notice to IP College’s Principle who was not present to address the issue and also to Delhi Police for the lapse in security.
More power to you.
So glad that you reported the whole situation in a very good manner. Appreciating your effort and courage:)
Your report enabled us to have a deeper knowledge about this sensitising case. It’s disheartening to know about this incident. I hope strict action is taken against the perpetrators. #justiceforIPCW
Apt preciseness of the incident, hope it brings up equitability.
So so so so heartbreaking.
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