Disclaimer: The following is an article based on a report by The Education Tree and the personal statements of students. It is subject to change and additions and doesn’t include the stand of the administrators.
College fests in India are major congregational events for students to come and interact with each other and display their talents on reputed platforms. They are not just culturally diverse spaces, but promote an idea of a fun filled few days where people can let their hair down and enjoy themselves.
However, sometimes, these spaces become a channel through which assault and humiliation are inflicted towards people and participants either in the form of robberies (stealing the phones, money of participants) or just verbal or physical assault directed at people.
Allegedly, one such incident took place recently, at the extremely reputed fest of IIT Kanpur, called Antaragni.
What was the incident?
According to a report by The Education Tree and statements of students, there was an incident of harassment and assault against the members of the music society of Ramjas College of DU.
Apparently, the members of the society were physically and verbally manhandled, threatened and shunned out of the fest premises. The administrators of the fest were unable to handle the situation and reportedly risked the security and safety of the female participants of the society after displaying indifferent and apathetic tendencies towards them.
This sparked a row of backlash in the form of other societies and musicians withdrawing their participation from the competition.
What exactly happened?
The exact incident was this:
Sometime around 1:30 am on one of the fest days, the girls from Ramjas college’s music society received a phone call, allegedly by some local electricity board that asked for their hostel room number to be divulged, but the girls of course refused to divulge it.
This was followed by frantic knocking on their doors. The girls were obviously afraid and didn’t open the door. Subsequently, other members of the society gathered to assess the situation and the security and administration of the fest were all called to take action.
However, after false promises by the administration to make the space safe, no substantial action was taken. Allegedly, the chief of the guards called the members of the society “anti social elements of society” and “a threat to the fest”. They were subsequently asked to leave and immediately vacate the premises on no substantial pretext.
They were allegedly told “nikal jaao nahi toh peet peet ke nikalenge”. The members of the society were manhandled and even pushed and shoved. Skewed remarks like “humenin pata hai Delhi mein tum sab kaise rehti ho” were directed at the female members of the society.
The question of safety
The alleged incident, has given rise to questions around the safety of women on campus. Educational institutions and spaces are supposed to be places where students feel empowered and feel a sense of security.
There is enough threat for women outside of these spaces. The harassment issue not only brings to light the issue of safety for women within campuses but also explicitly shows the dynamics of the relationship between the authorities who govern these institutions and the student body that should supposedly benefit from this equation of power.
Where does DU stand on the issue?
Apart from this ill treatment of the music society members of Ramjas College, students of DTU and JMC were also allegedly harassed at the fest.
Many colleges and societies have apparently decided to boycott the IIT Kanpur fest, Antaragni.
Source: The Education Tree, Students’ statements
Image Source: Instagram
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