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Delhi: Students Protest Against Harassment At DU Women's College Fest, Call For Principal's Resignation

Students of Delhi University's Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW) complained that unidentified men trespassed into the college, shouted slogans, and harassed women during the annual college festival this week.

Protesting women students in Delhi's North Campus area
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Following complaints of harassment at a women's college fest, women students of Delhi University (DU) on Friday organised a protest and demanded the resignation of college principal. 

Earlier on Tuesday, students of DU's Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW) complained that unidentified men trespassed into the college, shouted slogans, and harassed women during the annual college festival. Visuals of men climbing on the wall of college campus also surfaced on social media. 

Students and activists from mainly left-wing student organisations also demanded the resignation of IPCW principal. As per the college website, Poonam Kumria is the current Principal of IPCW.

Human chains, street protests over IPCW harassment

Students and activists on Friday hit the streets and staged demonstrations at the DU's North Campus as anger surged over the alleged harassment of students at women's college IPCW during a fest and "inaction" of authorities.

The students held marches at Arts Faculty and inside the IPCW campus.

Inside the college, scores of students formed a human chain showing "dissent over the shameless procedure with which the college administration has been acting and working for the past few days", according to the left-affiliated AISA, which is at the forefront of the protest.

At the Arts Faculty, several students accused the police of brutality as they were detained and filled in the police van. A police official, however, said those protesting were peacefully detained and removed from the area.

Over 200 students marched from Miranda House to Arts Faculty demanding justice to the students of IPCW. The students organised the "Azadi March" against repeated incidents of harassment at the campus.

"The Delhi Police showed its ugliest form by beating students and pathetically harassing women and detaining all protesters from AISA's Azadi March at DU Arts Faculty," the AISA, which organised the march, said in a statement.

Another student organisation, the Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), also participated in the march.

Then Miranda, now IP: Protesters

The students held placards that read, "Lock up these lumpens, not our hostel', 'Then Miranda Now IP', 'Where are women safe-Fight for women's safety' and 'Strict action must be taken against the hooligans, police and DU authorities'. Miranda House is another constituent college of the DU. It's an all-women college.

As soon as the march reached the Arts Faculty, the police beat up students and filled them up in two separate buses, AISA alleged.

"The Delhi Police, under the orders from ACP Civil Lines, Satender Yadav, unleashed a gruesome attack on the students. AISA demands immediate termination of  ACP Satender Yadav, who could not provide a safe campus to IPCW students and now has harassed students himself," the group said in the statement. 

Earlier in the day, the AISA led another protest inside IPCW. Hundreds of students gheraoed the principal's office and demanded justice, the group said.

Holding placards, the students of the all-woman college raised slogans against Kumria.

"Around 200 students have gathered here against the incident. We are demanding action against the goons, resignation of the principal and establishment of GSCASH (gender sensitisation committee against sexual harassment)," a protesting student said.

Later in the day, AISA shared photos of women students holding hands in the IPCW campus.

"Several brave students of the IPCW have formed a human chain showing dissent over the shameless procedure with which the college administration has been acting and working for the past few days," the AISA said.

"Amidst heavy surveillance and barricades surrounding the college campus entraping students inside, a human chain has been formed in protest of the committee formed by the college administration which includes the principal herself to look into the mishandling and misbehaviour of the female students by drunk miscreants," the group added. 

Police action in case so far

Following the incident on Tuesday, police registered an FIR under IPC sections 337 (causing hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 188 (disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant) and arrested seven people.

An AISA activist alleged the men who trespassed the college campus were heard chanting "Miranda, IP dono hamara (Miranda House and Indraprastha College both are ours)" and "Miranda nahi chhoda to IP bhi nahi chhodenge (We didn't leave Miranda, we won't leave IP either)".

The police, on their part, said there was an excess crowd near the college gate during the fest.

Around 3 pm, some overzealous students started to enter the college in a hurry. In the process, there was heavy pressure on the gates and some students fell down, they said.

(With PTI inputs)

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