Just when you thought DU is stepping up the security measures on its campuses, an outrageous incident comes to the forefront just days after the murder of Radhika Tanwar. In a shocking development, a professor from Indraprastha College was sexually harassed and threatened by a dozen DU students because she protested against their ‘holi hooliganism’.
The incident took place three days before Holi on March 17 when the professor was walking on Hudson Lane near North Campus around 6am. A group of boys was throwing water balloons and making lewd gestures at the girls passing by. When she tried to intervene, they threatened and abused her. An FIR was registered by the police after a distressing period of seven hours during which the professor had to undergo harrowing questions and humiliation. What is even more shocking is that perpetrators were let off on bail even before the professor could receive a copy of the FIR.
The incident started a wave of outrage among the University Community. The frustration among the teachers and students was evident as they poured out on the streets of North Campus for a protest march on March 22. The march spanned over four hours and saw the participation of around 1000 protestors consisting of students, teachers and members of All India Students’ Association (AISA). The protestors visited Hindu College, Ramjas College, SGTB Khalsa College and School of Open Learning to meet the respective principals. They demanded punitive measures against their students for sexually harassing and intimidating the professor.
“ An example should be made out of the perpetrators by meting out the harshest punishment possible in such a case, its high time authorities take action and not sit and wait for the worst to happen,” says Prachi, a student of IP College.
In turn, the students and teachers were promised strict action against the accused by the college heads. Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh wrote a letter to the area SHO asking for a proper enquiry and action into the incident. Meanwhile a case of criminal intimidation and molestation has been registered against the group of students.
Despite all the protests and police complaints, Delhi still has a long way to go where women’s security is concerned. Even worse is the fact that most of these incidents go unregistered due to non-cooperation of the police. “If the police takes 7 hours to register an FIR for an educated professor who has the support of the University Community, then what hope do young girls and underprivileged women have, of being heard?” says the IP professor.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police (north-west), Meenu Choudhary, will look into the allegations against the indifferent attitude of the police officers in registering the case.
With more and more crimes against women coming to light, it is time that more concrete steps are taken in this direction besides public outcry to make the university campus a safer place for women.