On March 8, Delhi University students noticed something strange outside their PG gate in Kamla Nagar. A man was lurking around the gates and rubbing his crotch. As soon as he made eye contact with a girl, he pulled his pants down and started masturbating.
One of the women shouted, “Why don’t you do this at home?”
He looked at them and said, “Why don’t you finish this job for me?” and continued making more obscene gestures. The girls shot a video and posted it on Instagram, but the social media site took it down for violating community guidelines. The video shows a young man on the street, looking around before unzipping his trousers and masturbating in public.
“It’s shocking and traumatising. We couldn’t act when it happened, the PG was to be closed on March 9-10 on account of Holi. We had to vacate the PG that morning, so we had no time to process what had happened. The warden and owners didn’t do much about the incident either,” said a PG resident, who was an eyewitness.
The security guard on duty says that he didn’t see the man. According to the girls, two police officers came to the PG two days later, but since the girls didn’t wish to file an FIR, they didn’t register a case.
“I don’t know if any action will be taken. All of us have left Delhi because of COVID-19. No one will be here even if they come around to collect the statement,” said an eyewitness.
When the girls reached out to the warden, she blamed them for not immediately informing her or the watchman. “The incident didn’t happen in front of our building, the video angle makes it look so. It’s the girls’ fault that they didn’t call the watchman or me while it all happened. The girls were up there much before he came and were up to something, maybe he (the man in the video) knew he was being filmed. We are extra cautious while Holi is around the corner because of the rising harassment,” the warden said.
In other lanes
In the neighbouring lane, a student of Miranda House alleges that the same man flashed himself around her PG last November. “I’m sure it was him after seeing the video. It was late at night, he was on the back side of the PG. You could see him only from my window. Around midnight, he came there and started jerking off. He was there for a few minutes and then left. I was too grossed out and disturbed after the incident to complain to the security guard,” she said.
The police say that they haven’t received any complaint from any residents in that area.
“No such cases have been filed in this police station so far. They could have filed an anonymous FIR if they don’t want to file one on their own names. The investigation procedure that is followed is the same. We ensure patrolling around girls’ hostels and girls’ PGs. Students, residents and security guards are encouraged to have the phone numbers of nearby patrolling officers saved on their phone. They can directly approach them or come to the station to get their numbers. In situations like this, it’s better to call the patrolling officers directly rather than dialling 100,” said a police official at Roop Nagar police station.
When this reporter asked the official to reveal the name and designation of the patrolling officers, he dodged the question a few times before hanging up.
Sarish Khan, a sub-inspector deployed at the Maurice Nagar Police Station says, “A lot of outstation students are scared to report these instances because they don’t want to get involved in the investigation process. We always have female police officers deployed near the girls’ hostels and girls’ PGs when festivals like Holi approach. Our patrolling has been active and we take instant action when cases like this come to us.”
Here’s what students, who live around the campus, have to say:
“In November last year, there was a guy around my PG near the Malkaganj Chowk who’d lurk around. One night, around 1 am, he came outside the PG and started cat-calling. We rushed to the balcony hearing him and that’s when he started masturbating and ran away when more people came to the balcony. We called the police but he managed to escape. This continued for a few more days. Every time we’d call the police, he’d manage to escape. The security supervisor was absent that day. The PG owner and warden didn’t do much except for appointing a security guard,” recalls a third year student from Ramjas College.
“I was walking from Vijay Nagar towards Ramjas College. The lane leading to the main road has no street lights and is usually isolated. I saw a man with his scooter parked near a tree. He was watching porn on his phone and was masturbating in public. We made eye contact for a second and I panicked,”says Yogita Agarwal, a third-year political science student from Ramjas College.
Ayushi Kumar, a third-year political science student at Ramjas College, said, “My friend and I were walking around the VC lawns when we noticed a man following us. We walked past him and found a spot in the lawns. After an hour, we got up to leave where we saw him emerge from the bushes and he kept rubbing his crotch. We realised he had been jerking off while hiding in the bushes. We screamed at him and started chasing him. We stopped after the dogs in the lawns began chasing him out.”
Last year, students of Hansraj College noticed a man masturbating at them. A woman constable had told them, “What do I make of this complaint? You’re not even from Delhi.”
Featured image credit: Jaishree Kumar