On 6th February, Gargi college of Delhi University celebrated the last day of their annual fest ‘Reverie 2020’ which witnessed enthusiastic attendance by students of Gargi, different colleges of Delhi University and outsiders provided the carried the necessary entry passes. Despite being an event full of several amusing activities, food stalls, fun rides and musical performances, towards the end of the day, the fest’s glory took a downfall and became a traumatic memory for many as the fest was hijacked by hordes of unidentified men.The crowd started to build by 4 pm. By 6.30 pm, the main gate was opened and all the men standing among the gathered crowd outside made their way into the venue unchecked. Several middle-aged men also climbed the walls of the college to gain entry.
Students observed men smoking weed inside the campus, molesting and groping college girls, passing lewd comments and masturbating at them. By the end of the day, the number of men exceeded the number of women present by a large margin and the place became so overcrowded, it became difficult for the students to breathe and several reported having panic attacks. When the students complained to the admin about these incidents, the principal told them to not attend the fest if they felt so unsafe.
Even though the CRPF and the Delhi Police personnel were deployed in campus, several students allege that they were useless in curbing the mayhem and chaos and neither were the college authorities or union bodies of much assistance.
On Monday, several students came out to protest against the mishappening and demanded the immediate resignation of the Principal as well as the head of the student union. On 10th Feb, an FIR was registered against the intruders accused of harassment by the students of Gargi.
While the protests in the college continued, ten people were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the events of 6th Feb. The Delhi Police has assured the students that many people are being questioned and multiple suspects have been identified from that day. Students of Gargi College have been boycotting classes and are now demanding that the fact finding committee constituted following the incident show its findings.
They also expressed anger against the college’s lax response to the incident and the moral-policing tone that Gargi authorities took after students complained of harassment at the fest. Currently a Saket court granted bail to all the 10 accused of the sexual molestation of students during the cultural festival at Gargi College, on a bail amount of Rs 10,000 each.
B.A. (Hons) English, Jamia Millia Islamia