Prior police permission needed for fests, says Delhi University. Students divided over new restrictions

The guidelines also stated that only a few students from DU-affiliated colleges/departments should be allowed to attend events held in any college
Entry to Miranda House | Pic: EdexLive
Entry to Miranda House | Pic: EdexLive

Days after videos showed men allegedly climbing the walls of a reputed Delhi University college during a Diwali mela and complaints of harassment and cat-calling, the University has issued new guidelines for holding events on campus that require prior permission from police and mandatory registration of student attendees.

The University issued a circular dated October 27, 2022, stating that, “No event without proper permission of police should be organised or in case of emergency/lack of time at least one day prior intimation should be given to the police station, Maurice Nagar.”

The guidelines also stated that only a few students from DU-affiliated colleges/departments should be allowed to attend events held in any college and that, “it should not be opened for all.”

What do students have to say?

Students, however, expressed concern that adding such restrictions address only part of the problem. “This will just lock up the girls instead of creating gender sensitisation awareness among students and making the college safer,” said Sobhana, a student from Miranda House, DU who witnessed the incident on October 14. To recall, the Delhi Commission for Women had issued a notice to the city police and the Miranda House, Delhi University, over allegations that men climbed the college walls to observe an open Diwali fest on campus and engaged in illicit activities such as "cat-calling and sexist sloganeering", stated a PTI report.

The student also questioned the move of obtaining police permission for future events. “The day the incident happened (at Miranda House), the police did not do anything despite the nearest police station being just 500 metres to one km away. So, how will it address the problem now?” said Sobhana.

Additionally, if only students from the concerned department are allowed to attend events of that particular department in any other college, it will restrict cross-departmental interactions, the student said.

The official word

The Registrar of DU, Vikas Gupta, however, told EdexLive, that the new guidelines were issued as an advisory for the new batch of students that joined on November 2. “Before any new batch joins, such guidelines are given and they also function as anti-ragging guidelines in a way,” he said. The academic session for first-year undergraduate students commenced yesterday and a number of colleges/universities affiliated with the university conducted orientation programmes to inform the new batch of students about the syllabus, the society and the committees.

Meanwhile, the guidelines also mandated the deployment of volunteers at such events along with obtaining necessary permission from other departments like fire, electricity and so on. “If any of the above guidelines is violated then the concerned college/department is solely responsible for any untoward incident that happened during any event organised by the college/department,” the circular added.

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