North Campus is a busy place, bustling with activity throughout the day. In contrast, roads leading to the South Campus are often deserted, even during daytime.
But ask women students and they will say that they do not feel safer in North Campus compared to South.
A survey conducted by Parivartan, the gender forum of Kirori Mal College earlier this year, found out that around 70% of women between the ages of 19 and 25 felt unsafe in North Campus despite the heavy police presence.
A large number — almost 93% — said they would avoid hanging around the campus in or after evening if they could help it.
Instances of sexual harassment are rife outside as well as inside colleges and institutions of Delhi. The spaces that are supposed to be the safest and sacred for them often end up being hostile and unsafe for female students.
Cases of sexual harassment by teachers or seniors have been regularly reported from various colleges in the city. There are, however, a sizeable number of cases that go unreported each day.
“Catcalling and passing lewd comments has become so normal these days that you don’t even stop and think twice about it. Till the time, this culture is not rooted out, no space will be safe for women,” said Avantika Nagpal, a third year student at Shri Ram College of Commerce.
Avantika’s grudges were in confirmation with the Parivartan survey, which highlighted that around 56% female students had complained of being stared at or of being subjected to lewd comments very often.
According to students, more police officers being deployed on the field is not the solution.
“Police presence on the campus has increased significantly in the last three years in view of all the protests that have been happening here. This, however, does not mean that women are now safer. The police officers are not sensitive. Sexual harassment in and around the campus is rampant and the police turn a blind eye to it often,” said a teacher who was sexually harassed by a group of men in North Campus last year.
In South Campus, the deserted road and few transport options pose their own challenges. “Snatching and sexual harassment are routine on the Benito Juarez Marg. The Delhi University has a bus service but the bus does not make enough rounds in a day,” said Gaurav Rai, a student at Moti Lal Nehru College.
The police station at South Campus, however, holds out some hope for the students.