In solidarity with the students of Gargi College of Delhi University, who were allegedly molested by a mob of outsiders during their college fest on February 6, several student organisations at Panjab University (PU) held a collective protest at Students’ Centre here on Tuesday.
Several women of the all-women college were allegedly harassed and molested after men scaled walls to enter the college premises.
Students protesting at PU also raised questioning on how the mob could enter the college premises in the first place. “The most horrific thing about the whole incident is that this was an organised attack. They were not just a few stray incidents, but a mob of men who came together to orchestrate this collective harassment of women,” said Kannupriya, former PU Campus Student Council President and a member of Students For Society (SFS).
Although the protest was in solidarity with women, who were harassed, groped and molested on their college campus in South Delhi, only a few women were a part of the crowd gathered to protest. “Normally, we do some door-to-door canvassing before a protest, but this time we organised it quite spontaneously, so we did not get the time to do that. But still, women should organically feel like coming to a platform where they can articulate their anger regarding misogyny and sexual harassment, because this is a common experience for a lot of women,” said Kannupriya.
Women protestors gathered at Students’ Centre also expressed that similar incidents of harassment and molestation have occurred at universities and colleges in Chandigarh as well. “I can speak for myself at least, I had gone for a fest in Punjab Engineering College, where a lot of women were groped. I think in any large crowd, men feel like they have the license to grope women because they can easily slip away,” said Kannupriya.
One of the few women at the protest, Saroj said: “A lot of the women at PU come from secure and privileged backgrounds who feel that they do not need to stand in solidarity with others. We should stand in solidarity with any woman who faces such harassment, because otherwise such incidents get normalised, and people do not blink an eye as women continue to face sexual harassment in public spaces.”
She added, “Even at Gargi College, the college’s principal asked the women students that why did they come to the fest if they feared for their security so much. Women continue to be so arbitrarily policed and we need to raise our voice against this.”
Pointing towards allegations that the mob accused of harassing the students allegedly chanted ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogan, a member of Panjab Students’ Union PSU (Lalkaar), Aman said, “When members of the RSS answer questions about gender equality by suggesting that men and women are inherently different and cannot be treated equally, then what can we expect from the ruling government in terms of respecting women and creating a safe environment for them?”
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