Published: 05th November 2022
Women residents of Rajiv Gandhi Hostel, Delhi University allege harassment and intimidation
Students were assured that no women students will be targetted for their participation in the protest or for raising their voice against harassment by hostel authorities
Following protests by students at the Rajiv Gandhi Hostel for Girls at Delhi University (DU) against the hostel's directive asking them to vacate the premises in September, the students have now alleged that they are being “personally targetted” and asked whether they were part of the aforementioned protests during the first round of interviews for the regularisation of women guest students. “Women students appearing for interviews are being heckled with how they should not have participated in protests or campaigns and that such things should not be repeated. They are being warned and being asked to give reasons and are being countered for their reasons,” a student told EdexLive on the condition of anonymity.
Many students are now, as a result, worried that their admission in the hostel might be denied on the grounds of being involved in the protests. To recall, the students earlier said that they received an email from the administration declaring that guest occupants must vacate by September 1, 2022, or pay a daily fine of Rs 200 per day. They also claimed that they were not given enough time to figure out alternate living arrangements, given that their exams ended only around August 31 and classes for the next semester began immediately after. The students just completed their Semester II exams. They claim that since the hostel has around 700 seats, it can accommodate a fresh batch of students without asking the current residents to vacate.
Students informed that a meeting was held on September 9 wherein the hostel authorities assured that all the existing women guest residents will be given admissions on merit basis as earlier and that no one will be asked to vacate. Additionally, students were assured that no women students will be targeted for their participation in protest or for raising their voice against harassment by hostel authorities and on the fee and accommodation issue, the students said. This meeting was attended by two student representatives, Dean Students Welfare, Proctor, Provost, Warden, Resident Tutor, four Ex-officio members from the university and the Chairperson.
Questioning and intimidation
However, students were questioned regarding their involvement in the protests. “We were asked if we participated in the protest and why we did so. If some students denied their participation as they were worried that their admission might get affected, the Resident Tutor (RT) would claim that they have seen pictures of the student protest and warned them not to protest in the future as fee hike might happen,” a resident of the hostel told EdexLive, on the condition of anonymity. Students claimed that the RT made them feel as if the protests and letters submitted to them regarding the accommodation and fee issues were a “grave mistake”. “They said that we have come here to study and not to do all these things. They claimed that we ruined their image and reputation and they were left answering to the other college authorities,” the student said.
Another student said that she was asked about the need for protesting regarding their demands. “They asked what we achieved from protesting as fees will be hiked in the future as well. They claimed that a few students with vested interests manipulated others to join the protest,” the student said. They also alleged that these interviews were being recorded. Some students who have been involved in the protests have not found place in the admission lists that have been released so far. So far, three interview lists have been released by the hostel authorities.
Hostel officials, however, informed EdexLive that the admission lists are purely based on merit criteria. “It is not that because they protested they won’t get admission. Their protest was to express their point of view and it's not a criteria for not giving them admission,” the official said.