The residents of the hostel stand firm with their demands and shift the protest to the Vice Chancellor’s office.
On the 24th of February, the residents of Daulat Ram College Hostel marched from their hostel gates towards the Vice Chancellors office to have their demands directly addressed by the Vice Chancellor. The residents spent the previous night protesting outside their hostel against the lack of concern shown by the hostel authorities regarding their issues. Seeing no other means of redressal and demanding an immediate removal of their hostel committee, they decided to approach the Vice Chancellor himself.
After being stopped at the gate of the Vice Chancellor’s office, the residents have decided to stage a sit in until they are given a chance to speak to the Vice Chancellor.
The hostel committee of Daulat Ram College consists of the Warden (Ms. Kavita Sharma), the Matron ( Dr. Sushma Tandon) and the Officer on Special Duty. All three of them have been accused of allegedly imposing arbitrary rules, moral policing and threatening the students which has led to the creation of a very suffocating environment in the hostel. The students refuse to go back into the same environment and insist on staying outside the VC gates for as long as they have to. The issues put forth go way beyond the hike in the fees and the curfew timings.
The residents have noticed that the breakdown of their fees presents numerous facilities; most of which are not provided to them. “Telephones, we are not allowed into the gardens but are told to watch them from afar, the AC works only for four days at a stretch, stationary”, a student complained. The residents are charged INR 1500 per head for garden facilities and INR 500 for stationary and telephone, all of which they are yet to use.
The regular moral policing seems to be a major factor fuelling this protest; a shocking four students have been removed from their hostel seats by the committee within a month. In one instance, a student got delayed because of her dance competition and exceeded the hostel deadline. Her parents and local guardian had prior information about this and had granted necessary permissions. Despite that, she was not allowed to enter into the hostel and was later removed from the hostel altogether. Another disturbing instance shows that the matron regularly inspects into the social media handles of the students and threatens to discuss this with their parents. “We are attacked because of the clothes we wear and she interrogates us every time she sees us with a boy”, a student added. Students have started wearing shawls to cloak their shorts/skirts for fear of being called out.
In a similar instance, despite receiving permission from her parents, a student was asked to explain why she did not spend the night in the hostel. On discovering that the student had gone on a trip with her friends, the matron has now asked her to voluntarily withdraw her position from the hostel by the 28th of February. Despicable comments such as “dhanda karne ja rahi hai kya?” and “kiska bistar garam karne ja rahi hain” are regularly used on the students.
On the night of the protest, the male guards were allowed to roam the corridors which the students felt was extremely inappropriate considering only a few students were inside the hostel. “The hypocrisy of the warden’s protectionism was on display as she claims to be protecting us from all the men outside but who would be responsible if something happened to those girls?”, a student mentioned.
The hostel residents have been continuously protesting for close to two days. Applications have been written addressing all these concerns for the past eight months but to no avail. The hostel facilities have not been improved and neither has the behavior of the hostel committee towards the students.
Featured Image Credits- Pragati Thapa for DU Beat