A Diwali mela at Delhi University’s Miranda House saw several men allegedly jump over its walls to enter the campus by bypassing security, something that has been condemned by students of the college. Videos posted online by a student show men jumping over a college wall and over a closed college gate in the presence of a security guard.
According to Principal Bijayalaxmi Nanda, the college administration and law enforcement had not anticipated the volume of the crowds that turned up for the mela. “The Diwali mela is organised by the NSS in the college every year, but it is never very big. We had taken precautions and there were police personnel but no one had anticipated or prepared for such a large number of students gathering for it. We tried to contain it with the guards closing the gates of the college and we called off the mela when the situation got out of control. The college is having several discussions now and we are trying to collectively come up with ways to prevent these kinds of situations without resorting to closing off the campus. We will also be in conversation with law enforcement authorities on what can be done to prevent something like this from happening,” she said.
According to DCP (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi, police have not received a complaint over this incident.
Aarushi Sharma, a third-year student at the college, said: “The college should have expected the crowds because a commotion because of men in women’s college festivals is a common issue in DU now. When the gates were opened for the event, a large number of people came in. When security realised that the number was unmanageable, they closed the gates. This made the boys really angry and since the college walls are low, they began jumping in from here creating a racket and shouting.”
The Women’s Development Cell of the college issued a statement condemning the incident. “Within an hour of the beginning of the fest, long queues of eager students had wrapped around the block. Soon, it became apparent that the college could not contain any more people and attendees were ordered to evacuate the area of the fest and move out of the college. Many attendees of the fest, primarily men, went entirely out of control at this move and reacted aggressively when the administration tried to prevent them from being on campus. They entered restricted premises like classrooms, ignored the requests of professors and staff, responded rudely to appeals and invaded the students’ personal space. Classes were cancelled, and students were left in a fix – no one could enter or exit,” read the statement.