On Wednesday, 29th March 2023, Delhi Police brutally detained student protestors calling for Delhi Police and the IPCW college administration to take accountability for the lack of repercussions towards the unidentified intruders at IPCW’s fest.
On 29 March 2023, the Students Federation of India (SFI) and All India Students Association (AISA) gathered around Indraprastha College for Women to protest against the incursion by unidentified men on the previous day, on the day of the college’s fest, demanding questions from the authorities for the same. The protest, which started at about 11 a.m., was interrupted by Delhi Police, and they started detaining the protestors hardly 20 minutes into the protest. There was a protest inside the college by the students of IPCW as well.
On 28 March 2023, during the annual fest of the college, several drunk men scaled the boundaries of the institution and harassed the women students. Students who were waiting at the entry gate formed a huge crowd on the verge of a stampede. Allegedly, there were no security measures in place except the gate not letting the people in. Soon enough, several men started causing havoc by climbing the trees and walls and jumping inside the premises.
The miscreants were screaming slogans of “jai shree ram” etc. and were hooted on by all other men in the crowd. One of the IPCW people (either someone from admin or security) jumped on the wall to calm everyone down and then the gates were opened to everyone, irrespective of whether they registered, or had student or govt ids, as a last-minute emergency action.,” – Molina Singh, a student who was in the crowd.
The drunk miscreants who allegedly smuggled alcohol and drugs inside the campus also took to hooliganism holding placards displaying obnoxious and vulgar slogans. Students present there reported use of slogans like, “Miranda nahi chhoda to IP bhi nahi chhodenge” (We didn’t leave Miranda so we won’t leave IP either), “We are single”, “Hindu ka yeh naara hain, IP college humara hain” (Hindu raises this slogan, IP college is ours). The harassment and vandalism continued while several women were escorted out by the organisers.
The miscreants wrote vulgar and obnoxious texts and flashed them to the female crowd
According to the students, the hooligans also tried to scale the walls of the IPCW hostel post which the entire college was locked down with students inside as per the instructions of the administration.
The harm was verbal. They also would not stop shouting slogans of a certain religion and grouping up, and they were approaching random friends of mine, or ogling others down. There were Dettol bottles in hands of volunteers who were nursing wounds, ambulances were called, and we heard that a certain man blacklisted on the first day of the fest due to harassment of students had entered again” – an attendant in conversation with DU Beat
The police personnel present there were not proactive in stopping the vandalism. While the police officials stated that an FIR was lodged against 7 men, the protestors sought a chargesheet of the same which was not provided.
Students, who assembled to protest the following day demanding answers from the administration, were manhandled. Students also reported being groped. Reportedly, some people were severely bruised due to the manhandling and then detained at Burari Police Station in an attempt to disrupt the protest. The detainees were later released.
After releasing us, they wanted to deport us back to IPCW so that the authorities could abuse us more but we refused and decided to walk out of the police station to go back by ourselves. We were extremely, violently manhandled and the police wanted our details even though they had no criminal proceedings against us,” – Titas Goswami, a third-year student from Miranda House in conversation with DU Beat
A press release, dated 29 March 2023, by the SFI DU stated, “Women are being harassed and mishandled inside the campus. When they decide to register their dissent against it, they are again harassed and mishandled by the police.”
It was reported by the volunteers of the fest, that a footfall of 10,000 people was expected. While the admin rejected the idea of having external security, the 20-21 students themselves were reportedly asked to control it. The miscreants were vandalising the walls and the admin allegedly asked for all gates to be shut down. The gates were only opened up for the car of a professor to be checked in when the pushing and shoving happened and that’s when the stampede started. Reportedly, people also tried to harass the professor inside the car and started piling and falling up.
Men started purposefully pushing the girls and then piling upon them, emerging with victorious smiles. Volunteers had to drag the girls out. People started panicking and there were no medical facilities available. One of our volunteers broke her leg in the stampede. Some girls had panic attacks while the men were trying to touch them inappropriately in the pretence of helping them.” – an anonymous member of the organising committee
After the ruckus volunteers were asked by the principal to escort the girls out. We were told to inform them that if they wanted to save their lives they must leave. And during the ruckus, the police instead started hitting our non-teaching staff volunteers and guards.” – an anonymous volunteer
A video of the principal alongside some identified Union members enjoying and dancing while this whole ruckus has also surfaced once making the students question the Accountability of the administration even more.
After the entire chaos happened, the administration gave permission to complete the fest with the remaining students. A video has also surfaced showing the principal dancing alongside some students.
Similar incidents have occurred most recently at Miranda House’s Diwali Fest and before at Gargi College’s Reverie 2020. The continuation of such occurrences makes it appear that fests at women’s institutions are in danger. Although the DU Administration and Police are skilled in detaining protesters past destruction, the lack of such security as preventive measures results in hazy situations.
Feature Image Credits: Unknown
Hritwik Pratim Kalyan