With the widely celebrated DU Fest Season starting off in February, it is expected to be a gala affair as every year,drawing huge crowds of students from all the colleges of the prestigious Delhi University. The real buzz for the fest season can be felt all around the campus; vibrant colours, mind-boggling themes, enthralling activities and the Big names on the celeb list of invitees is the cherry on the cake for every fest of the University.

From popular singers like Sunidhi Chauhan and Shankar Mahadevan to stand-up comedians as Kenny Sebastian and eminent speakers like The Dalai Lama , the Fest season in DU is much like a festival with everyone including  the volunteers and the society members busy with last-minute arrangements to make their event the most successful one.

Not only the stars, wide-ranging competitions like film making, various debates, mystery quests,photography and others also take place giving the students ample of opportunities to take part in. Such events and renowned faces create much excitement among the guys and girls who are on their toes to grab the passes for the fests.

In the middle of all of this extravaganza, what fails to catch everyone’s eyes and attention is the repeated cases of molestation of female students by some of the miscreants present. It has been largely observed that the large crowds pave a way for the molesters in committing such heinous crimes. Mismanagement and mishandling make it easy for such occurrences to occur.

Eve-teasing has been prevalent for a long time in events such as these. Guys take advantage of these glittery occasions to commit such evil acts. Many of them have been quoted saying, “College mai raunak zyada hoti hai, toh kisi ke patne ke chances bhi zyda honge”.  Boys with such mentality often make the girl students stay away from their own college fests.

NDTV reported that in Feb 2011, a girl was molested during a live show by Shankar Ehsaan Loy at the Shri Ram College of Commerce(SRCC) . Meanwhile, her two brothers were brutally beaten up by a group of 5 assailants. According to reports, the accused  assaulted the girl and her brother who were standing very close to the performers and some security personnel. But no one came to their rescue. The victims reportedly ran outside and approached a constable who helped them. Surprisingly, there are no evidences of police investigations and arrests that should have followed.

More recently, the famed  Arijit Singh Concert at Miranda House, Delhi University in Feb 2014 saw  massive crowds, leaving many in tears and causing a stampede. Various reports of molestation surfaced during that period.  It is the responsibility of the organizers to ensure peace and safety of the visitors, which always gets disturbed due to the mismanagement and mishandling caused due to carelessness and lack of proper arrangements.

Racial and sexist comments also haunt the female students at the famed DU-fests ,creating a state of horror in the minds of many. Potential stalkers and unwanted attention from male visitors are also some of the major issues which the girls get to face, without any body taking any notice of it.

Isn’t it high time now that such issues got properly addressed?

 Nowadays almost every blog of a DU student would have notions of feminism and respect for women. Doesn’t that imply that we should first check ourselves, loopholes in our own system before talking about the broader issues?

Such outrageous behavior by some wicked people (who many times are not even students of any college proper) not only cause fear amongst those present but also acts as a red signal for others.  A strong message has to be sent to all those involved that such practices are not acceptable. And you don’t come to fests to stalk girls or have “fun” in such disgraceful ways. Every organizing committee must give utmost importance to safety and peace of the visitors so that such dreadful activities cease to occur. Police should be kept on high alert and prompt action must be taken in case such situations arise.

We, as a society can only succeed when respect for women doesn’t only remain in the papers but also is practiced in all forms with full dignity.

Author : Akankshya Mohanty (Ram Lal Anand College)