Home News The college-going boy can’t be a molester…or can he?

The college-going boy can’t be a molester…or can he?


On January 16, a 24-year-old boy was arrested by the Delhi Police for killing his 20-year-old girlfriend after she had started ignoring him. He had dumped her dead body in a park and run away from the city . Creepy? The boy was a Delhi University student. If that unsettling bit of information takes you back to the 2013 incident when a jilted lover from JNU – armed with a knife, an axe, a countrymade pistol and a bottle of poison – had attacked his female classmate and then committed suicide, you are not the only one grappling with the question, `How do the boys even from the supposedly liberated and gender-neutral spaces act like patriarchal goondas in such cases?’ It is largely assumed that a student of a so-called `elite’ university in a metropolis would have a more respectful attitude towards women, owing to the liberal atmosphere and progressive education they are exposed to, but incidents like these are probably indicators that the reality is quite different. College-goers from the city tell us why, according to them, even students from elite institutions and universities are involved in gender crimes and why they’d rather not ignore this as a one-off incident.


Surilee, a JNU student, says, “We all like to believe in the happy idea that an educated boy would be less patriarchal, but that’s not always the reality . I know JNU guys who say that a girl who is willing to get drunk with them is basically asking them to assault her in public. My friends have dated IIT guys who thought that she should not get a job because engineers earn a lot anyway . I have met NSIT and DTU (Delhi Technological University) guys who think that DU makes some girls a little too feminist and aggressive, making them less suitable for dating. Education and awareness don’t always go together, maybe. If schools and parents, too, could begin to teach guys that slamming your hand in the window because your crush said `no’ isn’t very manly, we might have a better chance.”

Anika*, a DU graduate who is pursuing her masters at JNU, says, ” All the gender forums and workshops for girls focus on lending an ear to girls and helping them out, but I think what we really need are workshops where boys are taught that it’s quite cool to be able to deal with rejection gracefully. Gender crimes happen even on university campuses because a large number of the male students are brought up with the sense that only the man can say `no’. Gender sensitisation on campus should include getting them to accept `no’ for an answer from women.”

Akshay , an IIT-Kanpur alumnus and an MA (English) student at DU, says, ” At IIT, you become very intellectual, but there’s not a lot of gender equality talk. So, I thought that at DU, I’d get more of the liberal talk and that’s why I opted for a humanities course, but I was probably being too optimistic. Of course, many of the students can go on about why patriarchy s****, but there are also a lot of them who think that it’s okay to tell their girlfriends to not talk to other guys or that it’s only legit to call her a s*** because she dumped them. There’s an internal hierarchy and girls from many courses are quite okay with being bossed around by their boyfriends.”


Ashna Malik, a DU graduate, says, “My first reaction was, `Oh! A DU girl student has been killed by some psychopath again.It took me a while to even realise that the killer is also a DU student. You’d mostly think that the college-going person would be at the receiving end of this kind of violence. But this is like the `man bites dog’ news, in the sense that the supposedly `forwardthinking’ DU student became a threat to the non-DU student. And it reminds you that sometimes, a college student needs to rethink things just as much as the khaps do.”


Richa, a literature student at JNU, says, “There’s this perception that a guy from DU, JNU, Presidency University or the like would be the safe guy to hang out with because he is less likely to think that slitting his wrists or hitting you because you talked to some other guy or forcibly kissing you, is romantic. But frustratingly enough, all theories fall flat when it comes to women’s safety. Be it an illiterate 40-year-old stalker or a 20-year-old guy from a fancy university, you can almost never decide who will turn into a jilted lover and attack you.”


According to the SHO Mayapuri (West Delhi), the boy was doing a BA program as a correspondence student from DU and multimedia course from a private institute, and the girl was doing JBT from an institute in Najafgarh. Vanika*, a Hindu College student, says, “The moment I found out that the guy is a correspondence student, the incident, as sick as it is, made some sense. On the face of it, the statement might sound classist or discriminatory , but when you say a DU correspondence student, the DU tag is sort of discounted. How many `gendered hostel curfew protests’ are correspondence students a part of ? How many `gender sensitisation committee meetings’ do they get to attend? They don’t get the kind of exposure a regular DU student does – like students from Sanskrit, Geology or the less fancy courses – but if there can be a way to bridge that gap, that would be great. SOL and regular DU colleges are like parallel universes, and some intersection might help.”


Sara*, an LSR student, adds, “Hearing about spurned lovers throwing acid on girls or slapping them or raping them or even attempting to killattack them is very common. Getting to know that the spurned lover was from a space where people are working hard to achieve parity in terms of gender is, thankfully , a little less common. So, when you hear that a DU guy killed a girl, `but why drag DU into it?’ might be a natural response, and that’s what I have been hearing some people say since this incident came to light. But DU has to be involved because that’s where they teach you to question the notions of love and gender that you grow up with. I think that even if we have a single DU guy killing his girlfriend in 2015 and a single JNU guy killing a girl over his bruised ego in 2013, that doesn’t mean these are two exceptions in otherwise progressive spaces. That means these are areas that need more attention.”

(*Names changed on request)


2014, Hyderabad: Sai Kiran Reddy, 22, an angry college student, stabbed and injured his girlfriend Neha, 19, with a 15-inch long knife inside the classroom and attempted to end his life by stabbing himself because she had been show ing interest in another boy

2013, Delhi: 23-year-old JNU student Akash Kumar attacked and killed Roshni Kumari, his classmate, because she did not reciprocate his feelings 2013, Delhi: 20-year-old Ramakant Sontakke, an ITI student, stabbed his girlfriend to death because he suspected her of two-timing

2012, Mumbai: Payal Balsara, a 21-year-old Chetana College student, was stabbed eight times with a kitchen knife by her classmate and angry lover Nikhil Bankar. He committed suicide and she succumbed to her injuries

2010, Delhi: Gaurav Verma, an IIT-Roorkee student, was arrested while running away, after he had murdered his girlfriend at a hotel in Shimla. Pragati, the 22 year-old victim, was a student of textile designing at IIT-Delhi

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