After a social media post by a student of Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College — who was allegedly hit by a semen-filled balloon at Amar Colony market — went viral, college authorities as well students have taken up the matter. Activist group PinjraTod is set to hold a march on Wednesday against the “normalisation of harassment” under the garb of festivity.
Detailing the incident, the student had, in a public post on Instagram, said, “I went out with a friend for lunch yesterday to a café in the Amar Colony market. It was about five in the evening when we decided to head back. Not a minute of our short Metro ride had passed when there came flying my way a liquid filled balloon of sorts, hitting me square in the hip, where it burst open, its contents seeping into my kurti and leggings. It dried white on my black leggings, and the foreign smell clearly indicated that it wasn’t water.”
On Tuesday, the college’s Women’s Development Cell called an open meeting against this and other similar incidents, recognising that “while such incidents happen throughout the year, they peak around Holi”.
“The students expressed their anger, frustration and disgust at such incidents. It was felt that having safe spaces around the college is a right we need to fight for strongly. We must reclaim our public spaces,” said LSR PRO Kanika Ahuja.
Amita Yadav, LSR Student’s Union president, said, “The police have been contacted and patrolling around the college has been increased. A mobile number given by the police has been widely circulated among students. Students are being urged to lodge their complaints. Police are already taking steps to sensitise boys around the area. Bushes around the college have been cleared by MCD and police. Street lights have been installed on both sides of national park.”
In protest against the phrase ‘Bura na maano Holi hai’, PinjraTod is organising a march titled ‘Bura kyun na mano?”. “This is to assert our collective anger and resistance on the streets against this normalisation of sexual violence and harassment that happens every year on the pretext of ‘bura na mano Holi hai”, to question how our popular festivals and celebrations stand on rituals of violence and exclusion of people on the basis of caste and gender,” the organisation said.
Rowdyism around Holi has been a problem in Delhi University (DU) colleges for a long time. Like every year, this year too, the university has listed arrangements made to “counter acts of hooliganism” on the campus.
Ragini Sarmah from St Stephen’s College said, “Girls who stay in hostels and PGs are told to stay indoors and protect themselves; they’re on complete lockdown. It’s not just about the contents of the balloon but also the consent on being hit. A friend of mine was just hit with three balloons by a group of men who were regretting that they couldn’t hit her waist.”