(By Roshan Sageer and Sanjana Surbhi)
“In a country where cows are given protection, what about our girls? Don’t we have the ‘privilege’ to be protected? This is what we ask the entire nation,” said Dr Richa Raj, Assistant Professor at Jesus and Mary College and member of Delhi University’s Academic Council. The professor was speaking at a protest against a spate of incidents involving unidentified men throwing semen-filled balloons at students, under the garb of festivity.
The protest, which took place in front of ITO Metro station Gate 5, saw about 70 students holding placards, chanting slogans such as “Holi Hooliganism down down”, “Ham apna adhikaar mangte, nahi kisi se bheekh mangte” and “Holi ke naam pe gundagardi nahi sahenge”.
A few days ago, a student of Lady Shri Ram College complained of being hit by a semen-filled balloon in Amar Colony. A similar incident was reported by another student of the college Wednesday.
A delegation of two teachers, the victim and a student met the Police Commissioner and submitted a memorandum of their demands. A notice issued by DCP (southeast) Chinmoy Biswal said throwing balloons and other such items on women without permission, indecent exposure, pushing/shoving passengers in public during Holi will be punishable under IPC Section 188. The order will be in force till March 4 in the southeast district, the notice said.
Prerna Vats, a student, said, “We stand with the victims who had to go through such a horrific experience… We have gathered for a peaceful protest and will not stop until a solution is arrived at.”
“This year, the trend is to throw balloons filled with semen. Tomorrow it could be acid. It is very important to raise our voices as teachers,” Raj said. The Delhi Commission for Women also sought an action taken report from Amar Colony police on a semen-filled balloon being allegedly flung at a student.
(The writers are interns with The Indian Express)