Late night on 2nd February, a few individuals part of a WhatsApp group created to mobilize students to protest the creation of a “Cow Centre “instead of a women’s hostel in Hansraj college took to writing lewd and casteist comments on the group. A majority of the messages were deleted by morning. Read on to find out more.
Trigger Warning: Discrimination, Harassment
Recently, a WhatsApp group titled “For Women’s Hostel!” had been created by the Student Federation of India (SFI) to mobilize the students of Hansraj to protest the creation of a ‘Gaushala’ instead of a women’s hostel, the purpose for which the site at Hansraj had been reserved. The link to the group had been widely circulated to garner maximum support.
On the night of 2nd February 2022, a couple of students took to the group and passed lewd statements about the logo of SFI, mocked the cause of the protest and used vulgar language. They also went on to verbally abuse a member of the SFI Hansraj unit. They were identified as Ujjwal Singhal, a student from Netaji Subhas University (NSUT), Eshaan Awasthi, also a student from NSUT pursuing B.Tech and Mukul Garg, a student pursuing CSE at IIT Guwahati. All of them seem to belong to the batch of 2024.
DU Beat talked to a member of the SFI Hansraj unit regarding inappropriate online behaviour.
I did not see all the messages when these casteist conversations were going on, but I read them the morning after. A lot of the messages were deleted but I read some guys talking about hiring someone (possibly from the lower castes) for collecting cow dung at his place. There was also a “Jai BJP” message,said Shatakshi, a member of SFI Hansraj.
This sort of unbecoming behaviour takes place regularly in such groups.
We have reason to believe that these people are from the cadre of ABVP because this is not the first time these kinds of people have infiltrated our groups and tried to disrupt our campaign for getting a girls hostel.Shatakshi went on to comment.
However, Bharat, the media in-charge of Akhil Bharati Vidyarthi Parishad(ABVP) denied any relation of the trollers with ABVP.
Prachi, the Secretary of the SFI LSR unit, reaffirmed how frequently this type of online harassment took place. “Online harassment is not a new thing. This happens whenever we have taken up any issue that the students or colleges are facing, especially issues regarding women safety and women’s hostel issues. Whenever we try to campaign and raise our voice against it, we have seen these trollers come online, because it makes it easier for them to comment due to being anonymous and not being present in person. So, they can say whatever they want to and target people however they want to. This is basically what happened in the group also”, she said.
Most of the messages were deleted by morning and the group settings were changed so that only the admin can send messages. The SFI Hansraj unit is taking the matter seriously. They plan to try their best to ensure that action is taken against the people responsible for the unnecessary and vile comments.
Despite the disappointing behaviour of the students in the group, Prachi remains committed to SFI’s mission and refuses to let trolls get their way.
Previously also some of these elements came into the group and tried to create a ruckus, trying to silence our voices by saying casteist things and using slurs. These sorts of comments are very unfortunate but will not deter us from what we are doing as women and as part of a progressive student organization. We will always take up these issues and we will always fight against the administration if they do anything, anti-student. We will fight against these people who try to silence us or make such comments through which they think they can deter us,said Prachi while in conversation with DU Beat.
Featured Image Credits: Business Today