By: Anuradha Mishra
In the waking call against the sexist and confining rules like curfew timings followed by the women hostels in Delhi University, the students yesterday protested in the North Campus lead by the women’s movement Pinjra Tod or ‘Break The Cages”. Pinjra Tod as a women’s collective has been pushing university administration to remove curfew timings from women hostels and demand allocation of accommodation for differently abled students and setting up of an internal complaints committees against sexual harassment in colleges, among other demands, for several years.
A week before, Pinjra Tod had submitted a Charter Of Demands to the Vice Chancellor of the University enlisting their demands. Upon receiving no response from the administration, they had called out a mass all night protest yesterday, Marching around Campus with placards and sloganeering. They staged a sit-in outside the Arts Faculty and also tried to scale the locked gates, they also blocked the Mall Road marching in numbers. Pertaining to which the police intervened and tried to suppress the protests during which many students were allegedly injured.
The university spaces have time and again tried to curb the freedom of women by confining them behind locked gates as soon as the sun sets in. The mobility of women outside their hostels is counted by the hours of daylight and restrictions through the dusk. A free university space accounts for women to have their own choice and not be limited by strict curfew rules and to stop infantilizing mature, legally adult women.
Among other demands in the charter presented by the Pinjra Tod, they ask for abolishment of the concept of local guardians for students, while keeping a provision for an emergency local contact number, Rejection of the self-financing model of running hostels in order to make hostel accommodation affordable for all women students, Need and not merit based allocation of hostel seats, Allow 24 hour entry into women’s hostels, and more.
After receiving no concrete response from the administration after their all night protest, the students have given the proctor 2 days time to go over their demands and give definite answers. If the administration keeps its silence, yet once again, there is a possibility of another mass protest in the upcoming days.