Protest against ‘normalisation of harassment’ on Holi

Students of Jesus and Mary College protest outside Delhi Police headquarters on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: V.V. KRISHNAN

On the eve of Holi, several students protested outside Delhi Police headquarters and in areas around their college on Thursday against incidents of harassment in the guise of “Holi celebration”.

Several students and professors from Jesus and Mary College took their protest outside the doors of Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, alleging inaction by the police.

In a memorandum to Mr. Patnaik, the students wrote, “In many parts of Delhi, the occasion of Holi has been misused to physically assault women and young girls with semen-filled balloons. We are approaching you with a strong appeal for adequate policing and patrolling, and for more proactive measures because we strongly feel these are lacking.”

The students said harassment has been “normalised” during Holi, which should not be the case, as travelling to and from college and going to the market near their paying guest accommodation is almost impossible for a week before Holi.

Aruna Tandon, who lives in a PG in Amar Colony, said “It is like a war zone. It is not just balloon filled with disgusting liquids being flung from balconies but people roam around in cars and attack from all sides. When we complain, people just say.. ‘bura na mano Holi hai’.”

Some of the other demands of the students included prevention of unruly Holi processions, directions to DTC bus drivers to flag Holi celebrations inside buses, and instructions to residents’ welfare associations and locals to actively discourage “hooliganism” and harassment of women. Students from Lady Shri Ram College and other organisations also took out rallies. While campaigning against “hooliganism”, the students from LSR were hit with water balloons.

Activists from Pinjra Tod, which has also been running a campaign against the culture of intimidation, said, “We refuse to walk these streets in fear anymore and we refuse to accept this normalisation of sexual abuse and molestation that happens in the name of Holi, where a free license is given to a culture and atmosphere that promotes the violation of women’s consent and perpetuates violence on women’s bodies.”

Sexual harassment

The activists said the fight against sexual harassment is also a fight against the discourse of increased security, policing and surveillance which manifests itself on Holi, when girls in some hostels and PGs are locked up and not allowed to go out as a solution to the problem.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 6:17:23 PM |

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