Delhi

Harassment incident dampens festive mood at DU colleges

Women colleges work to strengthen security system

Miranda House will possibly have a closed fest this time, Maitreyi College Union has requested for additional security from their administration and Lady Sri Ram College has allegedly deferred their annual fest altogether.

The Delhi University fest season catapulted into limelight when women students complained of mass harassment at Gargi College last week, following which colleges have been working double time to ensure safety of their students.

Aparijita Saha, president of Mathematics department at Miranda House spoke about how each of the 400 participants for their fest were sent confirmation mails and that the organising committee decided to stop spot registrations.

Document scanners

They have set up document scanners for keeping a track of ID cards at the gates, and decided time-bound passes would only be issued half an hour before events.

Safety concerns that were brought to the fore after the Gargi College incident have been felt for a while.

Women students from these colleges spoke about how they usually avoided evening fests altogether unless they were surrounded by friends. A western music society member from LSR who has been performing in different fests said that girls chose to carry pepper sprays for the evening events.

She said: “While LSR does not allow entry into campus with any beverages and without a valid pass, colleges like Gargi which has a few regulations have begun the pass system only recently. Overall, while the participants are mostly safe throughout the day, sometimes there are harassment issues during special performances.”

A union member from Maitreyi College, Shivangi Singh, said that while they were getting active support from their administration for additional security, women students in DU have always faced such incidents, but people never spoke up. What happened at Gargi College has pushed colleges to strengthen their security system for their fests.

Former LSR students recalled how in 2016 when Kenny Sebastian had come for a performance, the crowd had become unruly and the administration had to intervene. Since then, fests have been more strictly regulated.

Deferment decision

The current cultural secretary of LSR, Ishaan said: “Students wanted to use art as a form of protest, but since any kind of opinion brings counter opinions and we really did not want the security issues to come up, we took a call to defer our annual cultural fest ‘Tarang’ before the Gargi incident happened. The incident has only strengthened our resolve to not hold the fest and organise separate society events instead.”

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 1:57:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/harassment-incident-dampens-festive-mood-at-du-colleges/article30814860.ece

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