Young women demand hostel rights through Pinjra Tod campaign

New Delhi:

The Pinjra Tod campaign which had gathered much momentum across various prominent universities of Delhi, such as DU, JNU, Jamia Milia Islamia, and many more, successfully presented its demands in front of the Delhi Commission for Women at the Jan Sunwai. The Jan Sunwai was held at Jantar Mantar on October 10, 2015. People from across the universities gathered to witness the event. The Jury for the public hearing consisted of Mary John, Prof. Chakravarty, Janaki Abraham, and Piyoli Swatija. Dr. Farhain Malik was present as the DCW representative who accepted the charter of demands an found them genuine.

The event marked its beginning with an introduction of the campaign and was followed by the various experiences shared by the students living in hostels and PGs. Ishani Banerjee, a student of Miranda House spoke about the problems faced by the students living in PGs. She mentioned issues such as the exorbitant rent demanded by the PG owners, CCTV cameras present in the common room and corridors of the PG she stays in, the problem of deadlines, and how PGs are locked up after the deadline after which students are denied entry into the only room they have in the city.

Another student, Kiran Singh who was a resident of Aparna Girl’s Hostel for the past year shared her experience of the place. She talked about how even if she was a few minutes late, she had to wait for an hour before she was given entry in the hostel. Also, she mentioned how rude and insensitive the owner of the PG was. Residents and ex-residents of Miranda House Hostel also came up to speak about how much they fear the warden, how she scolds them on petty issues and shouts at them and there is no room of discussion open for them. A resident of Jamia’s girl’s hostel talked about the discriminatory and strict rules of the hostel. She mentioned how difficult it was to take night outs, until and unless they have the permission of their parents as well as local guardians. Also, she talked about how strict the rules were and said that the residents were not allowed to come out of the hostel even at the time of the earthquake that hit Delhi recently.

Many more experiences of moral policing and discriminatory rules were shared by women students. Also, poems, slogans, songs and acts were presented in the event. It culminated with a poem and speech by one of the organisers, Subhashini Shriya. Pinjra Tod had started off as an online campaign by a few students against the discriminatory and sexist rules of hostels and PGs women face,  but it ultimately managed to gain momentum and successfully achieved its first goal.