Protests broke out in Daulat Ram College (DRC) as students gathered in large numbers outside the Principal office to protest against the alleged harassment of a minor student by a faculty member.
On 31st January 2018, a complaint was lodged in the Maurice Nagar Police Station against an Ad-Hoc professor of the Political Science Department of Daulat Ram College (DRC), University Of Delhi for allegedly molesting and harassing a minor student.
The student, in her complaint, elucidated that the professor in question would often stare at her and wink during classes. She mentioned that he made lewd remarks and even asked her to join him for a cup of coffee alone during off-days and enquired about her relationship status. “He told me I am looking hot and sexy and then touched me inappropriately and tried to come closer to me,” the student cited in her complaint. Upon refusal from her side on his advances, he threatened to fail her in the internal examinations. The student, who was in her first year of college, was reported to be greatly aggrieved and troubled by this exchange. According to reports, the student was repeatedly told by college authorities to not pursue a legal course of action.
Soon screenshots of the text message exchange between the student and the professor were circulated online in the college groups where they went viral. The students collectively decided to protest this matter to demand immediate action from the college authorities. The student body comprising of over 700 individuals from all departments of the college assembled in front of the administration block of the college at 11:30 AM and shouted slogans in unison like “We want justice”. Several signs and posters were hoisted conveying “We stand together”, “Arrest him, fire him”, “DRC stands against harassment”.
The professor accused was present in the college during this time and quickly retired to the staffroom after a group of girls went to prevent him from taking classes. The protests then began outside the staff room and the students collectively raised slogans and chants.
The Students Union of the college was in communication with the principal of the college and ensured the students that action will be taken against the accused. The basic demand of students was for the speedy arrest and rustication of the accused. The police officials arrived and the professor was escorted to the principal’s office, after which students became a little less agitated.
The principal towards the end addressed the gathering of the students and had an open conversation with them regarding this matter where she ensured and promised the students that the professor in question will not return to the college campus again. She re-iterated that harassment will not be tolerated in the institution and that she will do her best to ensure the well-being of her students.
Nidhi Upadhyay, Vice President, Daulat Ram College congratulated the students on the successful demonstration that was carried out collectively and instructed the gathering to disperse and resume with their classes.
However, after the dispersal of the students, members of Student’s Federation of India (SFI) barged into the college baring their party flags and posters without any permission from the authorities, injuring two female guards in the process. They demanded the establishment of a “GSCASH committee” (Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment). They stipulated to meet with the principal of the college without any prior appointment, however, they were asked to vacate the college premises by teachers and students because of the lack of permission, and by the virtue of DRC being a Non-DUSU (Delhi University Students Union) college.
Feature Image Credits: The Hindu