Concerns over student safety at prestigious universities are raised by the latest molestation incident at IIT-BHU. Students from different colleges question whether such institutions effectively prioritise security of its female students.

In recent times, an alarming surge in incidents compromising the safety of gender minority students has come to light in college campuses. Notably, such occurrences are increasingly prevalent in some of the country’s most popular universities. From instances of girls being recorded while they were changing at IIT Delhi during a competition to the distressing case at IIT-BHU, where a girl was undressed and molested; similar reports have emerged from Delhi University’s campuses, including Miranda House, Gargi College, and IPCW, where men forcibly entered gender-minority spaces. 

While the nature of these cases varies, they all raise a common concern: Are gender minorities genuinely safe in campus spaces? 

At IIT-BHU, an alarming incident occurred on November 1, where a student was molested by three unknown men late at night. This led to a widespread protest organised by students, not just for the victim’s justice but for broader concerns. 

“IIT-BHU shares its campus space with the main university. The open campus allows unrestricted entry even post-midnight, with inadequate checking and recordkeeping. The absence of a boundary wall and a lack of security pose a risk to safety. It’s because of these loopholes that the offenders in this case are still not caught,”

-A student from IIT BHU. 

However, the blame for the incident was wrongly placed on the victim herself, highlighting a double-standard whereby male students can roam freely at any hour while female students face restrictions and are held responsible for any mishap. It makes one wonder if the administration will ever accept their failure or not. These security concerns are not unique to IIT-BHU; they echo across various renowned universities. 

“Female students often find themselves confined to hostels during festivals like Holi and Diwali from potential threats created by men. However, there is a lack of measures to control and manage the actions of those who make common public spaces unsafe for female students. How will this situation change when the onus is always on the female and there is a lack of control and action on the people who create this nuance?”

-Shreya, a student from IPCW, argues. 

“While I feel safe at my college campus, the same cannot be said about the surrounding campus area, especially at odd hours. Cases of Eve-teasing, bag snatching, and stalking have repeatedly happened, and it is worrisome for students who have to be constantly vigilant while they live in such areas with narrow roads and less security.”

-Ananya, a student from Miranda House. 

While all-women spaces generally offer more comfort and protection, there remains a fear of outsiders violating these spaces. In co-ed colleges, where there is a persistent fear of the male gaze, posed by both outsiders and insiders. Students describe how they are constantly concerned about what they should wear, say, and do. 

“We can’t guarantee the behaviour of students at colleges because of the extremely diverse population. In many coed colleges, casual teasing and mocking are normal, and nobody takes any notice unless something really serious occurs.” 

-A student from Dyal Singh college. 

When examining the role of college administration and the police, students believe that basic safety measures such as security guards, CCTVs, and boundary walls are present on the majority of campuses. The lack of this has led to the recent fight of IIT-BHU students where they demand a secure campus with a suitable security method to track the entry of outsiders. Although, it is a crucial step forward, accounts from other supposedly “safe” campuses like IIT-Delhi, IPCW and Miranda House where these measures were breached, shed scepticism about how effective these measures really are. The fundamental question still stands: Are college campuses truly able to safeguard gender minorities, or are we normalising harassment in these seemingly “student friendly” places? 

It should be noted that resolving gender minority safety issues on college campuses necessitates a comprehensive approach that includes strict safety standards, heightened awareness, police patrolling, and a change in collective mindset. Regardless of the gender, it is imperative to establish a safe space for all students and ensure that the onus of safety does not unfairly fall on the victims.

Read Also: Women’s Safety in DU: How Safe Are We?

Featured Image Credits: Edexlive

Priya Agrawal 

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 College is often a foray into many new experiences, a lot of which involves the night life. The glamorous ideal of Delhi clubbing, parking lots filled with fancy G-wagons, tons of booze, popping DJ sets has often attracted many young students, looking to enjoy the first dregs of freedom associated with university. However, behind the glitz, many realize that the city that never sleeps doesn’t always have to offer the best experiences once the sun sets.

Clubs are inherently unsafe for many, especially women. Dingy lighting, crowds of strange men, all under the influence of alcohol, and usually heavily intoxicated, spell disaster for several young students. Almost all young women have faced some degree of assault at clubs, from something as easily brushed off as cat-calling, to serious cases of assault.

My first few experiences in Delhi clubs hadn’t been the worst, somehow I had warded off creepy stares or unwanted gropes, but a few months into having moved to the city, I ended up at Ansal Plaza, a place frequented by DU students looking to party. This changed the false sense of security I had gained over the past few months. I suddenly felt suffocated and unsafe, I could feel the stare of random men. I ended up leaving in 30 minutes. Since then, I became more wary of the situations I put myself in. However, I now have a deep seated fear, one that usually gets me whilst traveling back in Ubers late at night, at how women often lose out on the joy of many experiences, because of the sense of endangerment created for them.

Other female students have had similar experiences,

There have been several times when I have been stared at or groped, in many of the supposedly elite clubs in the city. But I guess these are just the things that come with being a girl, and don’t deter me from having my fun” – Siona Arora, B.A. Programme, Kamala Nehru College

 But the issue runs deeper than just personal experiences, incidents like drink spiking run rampant across clubs in general, where women usually account for more than half of the visitors. Articles like this one suggest measures like, regulated security personnel, more female security members, checking men for drugs and a general no-tolerance policy towards drug use in clubs.

Adding to this, several unaware college students, many of whom hail from non-urban areas in India and are unfamiliar with the workings of the city, its various areas or clubs in general, are especially vulnerable to being exploited in such scenarios. Being charged extra money to enter into “exclusive events”, women being forced to couple up with often strange men to enter into clubs, commuting late at night in cabs through unknown roads or routes etc. can all ruin youngsters’ attempts to just have a good night.

Read also – https://dubeat.com/2023/05/25/du-reconstitutes-a-women-safety-committee-in-all-women-colleges/

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Chaharika Uppal

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 An examination of the notion entrenched in our patriarchal society to place the onus of safety on the victims instead of curbing crimes or changing the patriarchal mindset.

According to the most recent government data for the year 2017, more than 32,500 cases of rape were registered in India, which comes out to around 90 a day. A lot of cases might not have been reported. In a lot of these cases, not to mention the harassment that countless women have to face on a daily basis, the one factor that is common are the instances of victim blaming that are offered by the patriarchal society as justifications. The idea of victim blaming in crimes against women is deeply entrenched in the Indian society, with the clothes the victim was wearing or the time she was out on the street being a topic of conversation instead of the lack of gender sensitisation, morality, or the brutality of the perpetrators.

From the countless instances during this year’s cultural fests across Universities, traditional safe spaces cannot even be seen as space. Even in these safe spaces such as colleges, hostels, and even homes, it is seen that the blame is shifted on women instead of addressing the root issue. A student from Indraprashtha College For Women (IPCW) and a resident from IP Hostel who wishes to remain anonymous narrates an incident from a hostel General Body Meeting (GBM). She says, “Along with our curfews and restrictions, we face this pressure to change and compromise our lifestyle to stay safe. In the GBM, a girl complained that the male workers stare at girls when we don’t wear a bra. Our Principal told us that its a hostel and we should dress properly and not wear shorts and wear a bra. So instead of making our hostel a safe space for us and checking the male workers, the blame was shifted on us.”

The idea is also engrained into what should be the first safe space, our homes. Varshini, an M.A student from Chennai says “My mom slut-shames me when my bra shows through my top. If I don’t want to get raped, I have to wear three layers of clothes in the Chennai sun. Comfort or safety is the choice I have to make.” This onus on women is something that women have been made to follow through fear instilled by the condition of women’s safety in our country and what they have seen growing up.

Recently, the nature of police in India and their brutality has come to light, with those who are supposed to protect massively failing to do so. This is also something that women have had to face even before it came into light for most of us, as Sakshi Singh, a student in Pune recounts a disturbing tale “This happened last May, I was in the car with my maternal uncle and we were going home, around 11 o’clock. These two girls on a scooty were riding beside us and looked panicked. They asked us to pull the window down. Then they explained how they just left left a party and two drunk guys are following them on a bike. My uncle was very concerned, so he drove alongside them, but the bike continued to follow, and they were shouting. They were even threatening the girls. We reached a junction soon, where there were two police officers. We stopped the car and told them the entire thing. The police just looked at the girls and said, “aise kapde pehen ke itni raat tak ghumengi toh hoga hi na” (if you wear such clothes and roam around at night then this is bound to happen), I was very shocked and irritated. Uncle took their names and complained to higher authorities later.” 

Without gender sensitisation, effective laws, lack of support, and an incompetent police force, women are left with nowhere to turn to. Women are forced to compromise their lifestyles and identity for basic safety. It is high time that the culture of victim blaming is fought back against and more emphasis is put on curbing these crimes through gender sensitization and teaching the concept of consent to men from a young age along with the government actively working to curb these crimes instead of putting the onus on women and telling them how to dress or when to leave their homes and come back.


Feature Image Credits: FreePressJournal

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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On 17 September 2019, a girl studying in University of Delhi was raped by a rickshawala who attempted to kidnap her in his auto. The accused has been put behind bars. Read on to find out more.

You Dutt Sharma, a 23-year-old man was arrested on 26th October after a DU student filed an FIR against him accusing him of molesting her and trying to kidnap her in his auto. The incident took place on 17 September 2019. After the FIR, the police summoned the man and after questioning, it was found out that he had allegedly raped the student.

With the help of CCTV footage and technical surveillance, Delhi Police was able to track down the accused and put him behind bars. He confessed that he had harassed about 50 girls in the past. Provoked with suspicion, the authorities questioned him and subsequently matched the details of the case with the rape case. Apart from this, the accused had various cases of larceny filed against his name. 

“On October 21, a DU student said she was going towards a Metro station when an auto driver asked if she wanted a drop. When she refused, the driver tried to pull her inside the auto. She managed to escape after raising an alarm… the accused also fled,” said a senior police officer.

Gargi Tyagi, treasurer of Women’s Development Cell, Motilal Nehru College said, “Watching these things happen to students and that too so frequently makes me realise anyone of us could be the next victim and that thought petrifies me and sends me into a panic. It’s really frustrating and anxious to live with the fear that I could be next. Girls come from different corners of the country to study here and when things like these happen, parents also tend to refrain from sending their daughters outside their home state, where they could receive higher and better education. I hope the authorities do something about this and increase security around the campus.”

“The minor girl was called and she identified the accused. The accused initially tried to mislead the police, but he finally admitted to his crime. He disclosed that the girl boarded his share auto… his associates were in the vehicle, posing as passengers. The accused then took her to an isolated area and allegedly raped her. The girl was scared and did not tell her parents, as he had threatened her with dire consequences. She finally told her mother, who informed the police,” the officer said. 

Feature Image Credits: ThinkProgress

Avni Dhawan

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An audio was circulated on WhatsApp amongst the students of Delhi University (DU) on 11th October narrating an alleged case of hypnotism followed by a brutal rape. 

An audio was circulated on WhatsApp on 11th October 2019 which narrated that a girl was allegedly touched inappropriately by an individual who later hypnotised her outside the streets of Kamala Nehru College (KNC), Green Park. The victim apparently did not return home and had no memory of the previous day.  A month later she went for a checkup post missing her menstrual cycle, and was found pregnant. Medical reports claimed that she was gang-raped by six men.

Many questioned the authenticity of the said audio.  However, the entire premise of hypnotism and rape left students in a state of fear and perplexion. We tried contacting the person who sent the audio, however, they haven’t reverted yet. The whereabouts of the victim are still unheard of. Amongst several rumours and assumptions, the authenticity of the crime still remains under suspicion.

Alerts have been circulated by several departments in and around KNC and other Delhi University colleges. Students are being warned to steer clear of strangers and avoid making eye-contacts or even talking to them. A similar incident was reported in Noida where a delivery boy was accused of hypnotising a woman and later attempting to rape her.

Image Caption: Screenshot of a story uploaded on Instagram, warning students to stay safe Image Image Credits: Screenshot by Anandi Sen

A member of the Students’ Union of Kamala Nehru College refuted any such incident of hypnotism and shunned them as a mere mockery of public’s common sense. “It seems unbelievable and implies that none of it is true. If any such incident has truly happened, someone must be knowing the same. I have also heard that this incident did not happen in or around Kamala Nehru College, the authenticity of this incident is highly questionable and should be probed into.”  

Several other Cells and individuals have refused to comment or chosen to hide their identity. Similar cases of crime are being reported around the Green Park area, though. An incident was narrated by an individual who chose not to identify.

Image Caption: A student narrating a similar incident, who chose to remain anonymous

With rising cases of hypnotism, theft, mugging and harassment, University students need to remain all the more careful and alert. 

Feature Image Credits: College Duniya

Anandi Sen

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The woman who was reported to have conducted a series of thefts from Delhi University’s Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) was arrested by the police on 2nd October.

A 34-year-old woman hailing from Nagpur, Maharashtra was arrested three weeks after the case of theft was reported from SRCC.

During the questioning she revealed that she had conducted similar thefts across colleges in metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai as she “liked doing them”.

As per a senior police officer’s statement from The Indian Express, her arrest was made on 2nd October when she created commotion outside a hostel in Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi wherein she was denied entry by the guards. The issue escalated to an extent that a PCR call was made. Her actions were aggressive and unstable, observing which she was referred to the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS).

It was during her time at IHBAS that the police realised she was the same person responsible for the theft at SRCC and thus the police arrested her once she was released from IHBAS.

The woman had allegedly come inside the hostel rooms and stolen cash worth INR 3,000 and credit cards from which according to the police, transactions worth INR 50,000 were done.

The case was registered at the Maurice Nagar police station in North Delhi. According to the police, she was visiting Delhi and when she ran out of money, she went on to conduct the thefts at SRCC.

This case brought to light matter related to the safety of women in hostels. students from all parts of the country reside in the hostels as they complete their education, and such an incident poses a serious threat to their safety.

Prachi Nirwan, a second-year student from Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, said, “Security is an issue which must be taken seriously be it girls’ hostels or boys’ hostel for that matter. Greater measures should be taken if a person entering the hostel is an outsider with proper background check and registration. There should be strict vigilance because hostel is a home away from home for the students who come to Delhi. They need to have this feeling that it (hostel) is a safe space for them.”

Feature Image Credits: Hitesh Kalra for DU Beat

Amrashree Mishra

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What is a safe space? In life, we all need a place where we can be confident and true to ourselves – to relax, to rant, and to let it all out.

A safe space is a place or environment in which a person or a category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm. It can be a community, a person, a thing, a place, or a feeling; as long as you feel at home and peace, it is your safe space. The world is an inherently selfish, and stressful place. More often than not, college can become an excessively jarring experience, taking its toll on our mental health. Thus, this is when the need for an escape arises with urgency — a place to be yourself, to express yourself, and to discover yourself, without being conjectured. It becomes a place of acceptance, and it helps us to come to peace with ourselves, and that is a powerful perspective. But why are safe spaces important? A survey revealed that one in every four college students reported being diagnosed with, or treated for, a mental disorder.

Besides the aforementioned, 20% of all surveyed students were revealed to have had suicidal thoughts, 9% reported a suicide attempt, and nearly 20% reported self-injury. There are two types of stress in existence: eustress and distress. A little stress and anxiety are good for our performance; they help us work up to our best potential. But when this turns into distress, it can take a toll on our mental and physical health. It is  common place to feel spent after having your guard up constantly. Safe spaces, thus, become a place to unwind and feel cathartic. All of us arrive at college carrying trauma or some form of emotional baggage. We are thrust into a new environment that can often become an academic pressure cooker, and we have to figure out how to take care of ourselves without the hovering support of our family or community at home. It is then that safe spaces become a tool. Safe spaces can help you feel cherished and respected. They can provide a break from unsolicited opinions, and having to explain yourself to others.

A safe space can be anything: it can be a best friend to whom you can rant  about when you’re feeling blue, it can be your curated Spotify playlist, it can be your guitar, your favourite book, or your room, or your favourite food. It can be ranting on social media, and it can be your home. It can be absolutely anything that you wish for it to be.

That is precisely the point of a safe space — it is something that allows you to be you. It allows you to recuperate, and it allows you to build resilience that can be accessed in moments of conflict. It allows us to accept ourselves, feel comfortable in our skin, and function as emotionally mature adults. It takes powerful perspective to understand that being “burdened” is not normal, and we owe it to ourselves to continue our pursuit for balance.

Feature Image Credits: Rishabh Gogoi for DU Beat

Shreya Juyal
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The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) on Thursday, 12th September, raised its voice against the construction of a 39-storey high-rise housing society at the North Campus citing safety and privacy concerns.

DUTA has opposed the construction of a 39-storey building in North Campus saying it “would significantly alter the social and cultural landscape of Delhi University” and also compromise the “safety of women students”. The building is coming up adjacent to Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station, near Gate Number 3 and 4. DUTA also stated that the land originally belonged to the Ministry of Defence and was acquired for public purpose by the state government for the construction of metro station by Delhi Municipal Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Consequently, the DMRC sold two-thirds of this land by granting perpetual lease of ninety years to a private builder called ‘Young India’, in the guise of property development and by changing the land use from “public and semi-public facility to residential”, the DUTA alleged.

Sudhanshu Kumar, the Vice President of DUTA, stated, “This is the height of privatisation. It (building) would seriously compromise the safety and privacy of women students on campus as it stands in close proximity to several hostels that house women. It would also pose a serious safety issues for all students on campus, restricting their right to move freely in their own campus. It is clearly a ghotala committed by the State Government, DMRC and ‘Young India’.”

DU had also written to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Home Ministry, as well as the Ministery of Defence on this matter. Officials said that the proposed building is not viable keeping in mind security concerns for the North Campus students, since the building will have a bird’s-eye view of five of the girls’ hostels on the campus – Miranda House Girls’ Hostel, the Central Institute of Education, University Hostel for Women, Meghdoot Girls Hostel and the Girls’ Hostel of the Department of Social Work; apart from several other University buildings.

They said that there is already a severe paucity of spaces for students on campus, for their accommodation, recreation and for other academic activities and the use of this space for a residential complex is questionable in its intent. The Association has also notified that it “will take up the matter with the President of India, who is the visitor to the University”, in conversation with the Dainik Jagran.

Meanwhile, women living in the varsity’s 20 hostels have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising concerns over the construction of the high-rise building in the campus, saying that it will “infringe their privacy” and “prejudice the security” of students.

Image Caption: Female students, living in the campus’s 20 hostels, have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concerns over the construction of the high-rise building in Campus. Image Credits: Jagran Media
Image Caption: Female students, living in the campus’s 20 hostels, have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concerns over the construction of the high-rise building in Campus.
Image Credits: Jagran Media

The letter reads, “…it (the construction of the structure) would directly infringe the privacy of all the women’s hostel in close proximity to the land, it would prejudice the security of the students who attend departments and colleges in North Campus, since being a private structure the activities that will take place in the building will not be open to public censoring and if such a building is to be constructed in the University area, it would curtail the students’ freedom to move around the campus…”

DU also insists that the construction of this building will come in the way of the Master Plan of Delhi, 2021, that has been envisaged for the city’s infrastructure. Moreover, according to the documents accessed by Mail Today, 228 trees have been felled for the construction of this building.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives


Bhavya Pandey

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Bhagyashree Chatterjee

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A common point on the agenda of every political party is women’s safety. Candidates promise to make the campus a safer space for women with the use of surveillance and police presence everywhere. But the question that looms in the air is where consent is during the elections.

As the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections inch closer, the University of Delhi (DU) experiences hooliganism at its best. Keeping aside the forgeries, muscle power, and the waste of paper, the elections also turn into a breeding ground for harassment and violation of personal space. It starts with the handing out of pamphlets and flyers at the metro station. Party members, associates, and strangers get in the way to hand out pamphlets and cards while whispering the classic ‘please vote and support’ in the ear. This violation of personal boundaries continues in the e-rickshaw and till the college gates where a line of supporters stand to greet the students, ask to vote for certain candidates, and force students to memorise their ballot numbers.

“As I enter college, people in line ask me to vote for certain candidates and repeat their names and ballot numbers and promise that I’ll vote for them,” says Chhavi, a first-year student at Sri Venkateswara College. A student, who requested to stay anonymous, shared, “I was on my way to the metro station from college, and three men on a bike followed me till the gate while shouting the name of a candidate.” A second-year student from Ramjas College also added, “As I was entering college, men in white shirts were trying to hand pamphlets to students forcefully. I avoided their gaze and continued walking but a car from the parking lot came in front of me. Though the car was metres away, one of the men jumped in front of me, held both of my hands and said in a meeting tone, ‘Sambhal ke chalo yaar, gaadi ag jati’(Be careful while you walk, you could have hurt yourself).”

The harassment continues in so many more ways. From shaking one’s hand forcibly or sending unnecessary Facebook friend requests, to Instagram photos no one gave consent for or getting student’s numbers from the admission form to ask “if they need any help”. As a matter of fact, no one does. They just need you to respect their space.The understanding of consent, boundaries, and harassment lie unclear in the minds of election campaigners and candidates. Even if they do understand, they choose to ignore it.

Pooja Thakur, Professor at the Department of History, Ramjas College, says, “Instead of running a campaign on taking up issues most pertinent to the students and upholding democratic functioning and gender parity and treating the posts they stand for as positions of responsibility and not of power, they end up doing the very opposite. Within the colleges they end up disturbing classes with the beating of drums, loud sloganeering and bursting of crackers. Apart from this, they use tactics as is used in any mainstream political campaigns by distributing freebies to organising informal freshers parties. They also use tactics like confiscation of the students ID cards which is only given to them on the day of voting wherein they are pressurised into voting for their candidates.”

The University is meant to be a place where ideas and dissent run free, where students can finally have the safe space they deserve. Instead, seeds of hooliganism, fear, and censorship lie in its lap. As time passes, more allegations of harassment surface; it makes one wonder, is the University of Delhi turning into space where identities are punished for who they are? Amidst all election manifestos, we are yet to see any points about the queer community or the Dalit, Bahujan, and Adivasi community. Climate change is another issue the parties continue to sleep on. The still silence on issues of inclusivity and harassment serves as a reminder of our privileges.

Image Credits : Jaishree Kumar for Du Beat.

Jaishree Kumar

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The University of Delhi (DU) has come face to face with the Delhi Government with regards to the construction of a 39 storey private building in North Campus.

As per a report by the India Times, DU has written a letter to the Centre, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal, demanding to stop the construction work immediately.

In the year 2001, The Delhi Government had acquired three acres of land from the Ministry of Defence to construct the metro line. Only an acre was used and the rest two acres were sold to a private builder in order to build a 39 storey building.The University believes that the construction of private property would lead to great repercussions for the varsity as it threatens its educational space and can also pose a threat in terms of safety.

In 2018, varsity had written to the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Housing, lead by Mr. Durga Shankar Mishra requesting for restraining North DMC from granting any sanction to the Group Housing Projects of Young Builders Private Limited, near Vishwavidyalaya Metro station.

Delhi University’s Officer on Special Duty Mr. Vipin Tiwari talked to India Today, about this move. He stated that he had witnessed the construction of the building behind the metro station.

According to him, this poses a great threat to the University space as it’s a private building and is very close to not only four girl’s hostels but also the office of the Lieutenant Governor and the DRDO office. The construction was not stopped despite various complains, not only that it will also be the tallest building around if constructed. It poses a great threat as this a high-security zone.

He also added that this also violates the three points of Clause 11 of the Delhi Master Plan 2021. Various political parties also showed their dissent against this move. The Mayor of Delhi Mr. Avatar Singh responded by stating that a letter requesting the clearing of doubts raised has been sent to the Governor. “All at being fault shall be persecuted”, he added.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Stephen Mathew

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