Alleging obscenity in an all-male Holi procession taken out in Delhi University’s North Campus every year, women hostellers in the university on Tuesday sought a complete ban on it, stating the procession unfailingly stops outside their gates every year.
“These men pause for a long time outside the hostel gates, shouting out crude comments and making obscene gestures that are so indecent that it amounts to harassment. Most of them are drunk and are a mixture of some male residents in the hostels and other anti-social elements,” said Maya John, a resident of the PG Women’s Hostel on Chhatra Marg, where there are two other women’s hostels --Miranda House Hostel, and DUWA and Meghdoot Hostel.
“The procession is usually accompanied by the police, but despite requests in the past as well, the procession has never been properly banned,” said Eapsa Berry, another resident.
The hostel residents met the Proctor on Tuesday, who was reticent and not forthcoming on assurances of action.
“She did not meet us, but sent a message that she would inform the police but whether they banned the procession or not was left up to them and that she was not going to do anything about it,” said Maya, adding that a similar memorandum had been submitted to the police.
Although the university, like every year, issued a set of guidelines for Holi which included extra policing and helpline numbers, the women residents alleged that this year the usually rowdy elements have been stronger and that no action was being taken on complaints.
“Even today when the women students submitted their petition, they were informed by the officials in the police station that at the most the boys will be closely watched and accompanied by heavy police deployment,” added Maya.
The students want the Proctor’s office to issue direct instructions for a complete ban on such processions and order the police to enforce it.