By Mansi Bahl, UG'24
TW- Mentions of Harassment and Violence
During Seniors Week, the student body received an email about eve-teasing incidents that students faced right outside campus. The email attributed the incidents to the closure of the SR and the lack of students' voices in Ashoka’s decision-making process. To gain more insight into the matter, the Edict reached out to people who experienced and/or were related to these incidents.
According to the email, dated 9 May 2022, a group of people from outside campus began harassing some female students. An anonymous source who was present during the incident told The Edict that some people had a car parked near the university and began taking pictures of girls who were partying outside. They tried to touch them and asked to buy them a drink- making them uncomfortable. This incident was different from the one later that week where things escalated. The source stated that there was a delay in the sending of the email itself due to deliberations within the student government creating confusion about the multiple incidents.
A second incident took place on the night of 12th May. Another anonymous source The Edict spoke to mentioned that they were celebrating with friends outside campus gates when they witnessed something similar. The group noticed some cars parked near one of the local shops. According to the source, the owners of the car were other university students and not locals. These people were allegedly taking photos of girls and wouldn’t budge when asked. The situation became worse when an Ashoka student asked one of the owners of the car to move, and one of them reversed the car into the group, almost running them over. One of the students from Ashoka also supposedly threw a bottle at their car in anger, worsening the situation. The university guards then went outside to ensure that everyone was safe, but they were forced to engage in a fight. The source alleges that while encounters with students from other universities weren’t uncommon, this incident was the scariest one they had experienced.
We found that these incidents are not one-off and have been taking place for a long time, even when the SR was present. The second source revealed frequent accounts of being in uncomfortable situations near the campus area- like being ogled, catcalled, and so on.
The Edict also reached out to CASH about their views on the incident and they said that it should be brought to the notice of Rajesh Garodia (Pro VC) and Bhaskar Mishra, who could ensure that the guards are instructed about how to handle such a situation in the future. They added that CASH could not take action against people outside the campus, but if Ashokan authorities were made aware, appropriate action would be taken. However, according to our first anonymous source, the university is yet to file an official report regarding the incident on 12th May with the police.
In a survey taken by The Edict, students expressed their concerns over the increasing lack of safety for people who wished to smoke on campus since they have to go outside now. However, as new revelations have been brought about, such incidents have been prevalent even before the SR was shut down. This leads one to wonder where the crux of this matter lies. The incidents from Senior’s Week, while more extreme than usual, allegedly seem to trail behind a list of similar incidents which have taken place even before the closure of the SR.
The Edict reached out to the VC and the VP of Operations for comments on the piece, however, availed no response till the date of publishing.