Tanya Yadav, a second-year student of Motilal Nehru College in Delhi University’s South Campus, walks from her college till the Dhaula Kuan bus stop — a stretch of 1.5 kilometres.
The Benito Juarez Marg in south campus leading to many DU colleges is desolate all the time. Students have complained about the lack of safe public transport during late evening hours. (Sushil Kumar/HT photo)
Each day after her coaching classes get over — well past sundown — she covers the stretch on foot with a silent prayer.
One of DU’s most notorious stretches, the south campus area still remains vulnerable to street crimes.
The area stretches from Benito Juarez Marg to Sri Venkateswara College, Ram Lal Anand College, Motilal Nehru College and the South Campus block, with Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma (ARSD) College adjacent to the Ring Road. Other colleges opposite to this stretch are Jesus and Mary and Maitreyi on San Martin Marg.
When HT visited these stretches, not only was patrolling absent, any form of check or barricading was also missing.
“There are hardly any autorickshaws. There are no police patrol vehicles; it is extremely unsafe. I have no option but to walk since most of the public vehicles ply from the main road,” Yadav said.
Yadav is one of the hundreds of other women students who feel a lot still remains to be done to fortify south campus.
Even though colleges such as Lady Shri Ram, Kamala Nehru and Jesus and Mary have kept up a constant vigil through police patrol vans, the vast expanse of south campus and the scattered locations of most colleges here have created several unsafe pockets.
“If there are college festivals or late evening classes, there is no way of going home unless we have our own conveyance. The shared autos rarely have any women in them and the bus service isn’t reliable. The number of U-Special buses needs to be increased,” said Neha Jaiswal, a final year student of Sri Venkateswara College.
The cacophonous North Campus —as many students claimed — is equally porous. While during the day the campus appears visibly fortified, its deserted streets and poorly-lit bylanes deter students from venturing out in the evening.
And it isn’t just girls but men too who said there was a big question mark when it came to safety on campus.
“After sundown, the Chhatra Marg turns into a haven for petty criminals. Students walking alone stand a strong chance of being mugged. We just don’t step out after dark. It is a myth that north campus is very safe,” said Ishan Misra, a Master’s student.
The police said they had taken cognizance of safety issues raised by DU students and were conducting a thorough check in both campuses.
“Security in and around DU colleges is a major concern for us,” a senior Delhi police officer said.
“Our emphasis is more on deterrence of crime through more visibility and deployment of PCR vans near colleges and the routes leading to these. PCR vans have been asked to patrol the area frequently and with blaring sirens,” the officer added.