DU’s Shocking Legacy

Delhi University every year sees thousands of would-be students throng to their offices through the month of June and July to obtain admission into what it likes to call ‘India’s premiere University’. Education at India’s premiere university consists of this:

1) 12% of DU colleges (172 in total) have women’s hostels

2) Those that do have the following distribution except women’s colleges: a 1:27 ratio of hostel blocks, that is one women’s hostel per seven hostels for men.

3) 11% colleges have a marginally active women’s development cell.

4) Of these 3% have housing information for outstation students.

Now consider this: Last year a student of Gargi College, a north-easterner was stoned by men a hundred yards from the college premises on her way home after completing lab duty at five p.m. The police requested the then principal of Gargi for a statement and co-signature on the girl’s FIR since 100 yards was within Gargi’s colleges’ property and thus within the college jurisdiction. The Principal refused on grounds of negative publicity. Students of the college protested for a week- missing classes and becoming the butt of teacher fury. At the end of the week, the Student’s union decided to publish. Not one single press service or campus paper would carry the story. The girl has now been expelled.

News of a another north-eastern girl raped at Dhaula Kuan in Delhi recently did the rounds. The University of Delhi is bound by the Policy on Sexual Harassment (Ordinance XV-D) to institute support mechanisms to any member of the Delhi University who is raped by any a third party i.e., person(s) not belonging to the Delhi University. The survivor of sexual assault must be provided legal and psychological assistance immediately. Far from that happening the proctorial office of DU now denies that the girl is a bonafide student of DU.

Throughout these last weeks the University authorities have done precious little to reach out to the victim. This I am told …Constitutes criminal negligence on the part of the University of Delhi which is now bound by Ordinance XV-D to provide immediate psychological and legal assistance to any student who undergoes the trauma of rape by a third party….”

“….We want to know why was the student not provided psychological and legal assistance during the police investigation? We demand an explanation as to why the Delhi University has failed to co-ordinate with the Delhi police on this issue soon after the incident was reported. Why have the DU administration and Delhi police not worked out mechanisms of redressal and support to survivors of crimes that fall under each jurisdiction – state law as well as violations of the policy on sexual harassment?..Says the text of an online petition.Unfortunately the petition too has been rejected by authorities as it does not constitute any appropriate ground of objection!

DU in the case of rape or sexual assault is obliged by law atleast on paper to do several things: To provide such student with safe accommodation, migration to another college, hostel seat, special assistance with academic work and tuition waiver or a fellowship to support her education. Needless to say, the university has thus far denied that this clause even exists when questions by student activists.

Elsewhere, Principals of Mata Sundari College, Janaki Devi College, Stephen’s and other have vociferously suggested that college students ought behave and dress appropriately. What else can one expect of a city- where the rapists offers the raped marriage to atone for his sins, and where the judge believes that the offer ought to be seriously considered!