The residents of Ambedkar Ganguly Students House for Women, Delhi University (DU) broke open the lock of their hostel late on Sunday night in protest of the alleged remarks by the hostel warden and against the “arbitrary” rules and regulations, including curfew timings. Other hostels from the Girls Hostel Complex showed their solidarity.

The rehearsals for the Hostel Night of Ambedkar Ganguly hostel for women took a controversial turn after the warden allegedly passed comments on a dance performance for being ‘disrespectful’ and objected to the clothes for being ‘ revealing’. She asked the girls to cut those parts of the performance which were  ‘disrespectful’ according to her. On being asked for an explanation of the same, an altercation took place between the residents and warden and the hostel gates were locked. The residents protested against demanding a written apology and resignation of the warden. They broke open the lock of their hostel late on Sunday night in protest of the alleged “arbitrary” rules and regulations, including curfew timings.

Solidarity was shown by other various hostels like Ambedkar Ganguly Students House for Women, North Eastern Students House for Women, Rajeev Gandhi Hostel for Girls, University Hostel for Women, and Undergraduate Hostel for Girls (UGHG) against the hostel curfews and problems faced by women in Delhi University Hostels. There was a heavy police presence whole night.

A resident of UGHG, on conditions of anonymity, commented, “ Though due process has been followed by all the hostels, by writing applications and by complaining to the authorities they seem disinterested and not considerate”.

The student collective under the name of Women for Equality consisting of residents from various hostels of the Girls hostel complex have demanded the administration to immediately follow the University Grants Commission (UGC) Guidelines and the Saksham Committee Report, and “remove patriarchal and unconstitutional curfew from all women’s hostels”.

The student body is planning to launch a protest from 27th February against the hostel rules. Their statement said, “Even the men on campus will see their female counterparts as lesser beings if women do not have the same rights as they do. By restricting women in the public sphere, is it how the institutions are preparing us or the ‘next generation leaders for the real world” ?

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Tomorrow is Ambedkar Ganguly Student House (Delhi University)for Women’s Hostel Night and the warden told girls who were performing that ” their dance is disrespectful ” “Their body should remain a mystery, so no revealing clothes ” And when we asked her for explanation she said “toh theek hai agar aapko ek boob dikha ke nikalna hai ya nanga nachna hai toh andar dikhao, bahar nahi” This was the introduction of a dance performance: Surviving and Fighting Patriarchy is an exhausting experience for women. So here is a performance about women being unapologetic and liberated. She said, this is not liberalism. She also told girls to cut those parts of performances which according to her were “disrespectful “. When the residents asked for an explanation, she walked off telling the guard ” band kardo gate”. This kind of cheap, disgusting and derogatory behavior and moral policing is intolerable. The women of Ambedkar Ganguly Hostel demand a written apology and won’t settle for anything less than RESIGNATION OF WARDEN. SHAME!!

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Feature Image Credits: Deewanshi Vats for DU Beat 

Sriya Rane

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30th October, 2018, became a historically significant day for the Miranda House Girls’ Hostel, as the Hostel gates stayed open into the dawn, as the students protested outside. To celebrate the completion of one year to this day, and mandate authoritative action to allow the hostellers more liberty, another sit-in was organised by the Miranda House Girls’ Hostel residents.

The protest was led by Pinjra Tod, a student’s collective that works for secure, affordable and non-gender discriminatory accommodation for women across Delhi. 

The events of the said night happened in this chronological order: 

Activists of ‘Pinjra Tod: Break the Hostel Locks’ called for a protest outside the gates of Arts Faculty, Delhi University, on the night of October 30th, demanding that the Miranda House hostel curfew be rolled back completely. Earlier, on October 8th and 10th, Pinjra Tod had organised protest marches and all-night sit-ins in North Campus, Delhi University.

Previously, on October 10th, the activists of Pinjra Tod had given the deadline of October 30th to the University administration to accept all their demands. The Principal of Miranda House, Pratibha Jolly had talked to the protesters and listened to their demands, giving the assurance that the issues would be discussed by the administration, and appropriate measures would be taken.

Ishika, participant at the protest, a Miranda House student told DU Beat, “The protest began very calmly, there was no aggression or violence. The hostel committee and the principal cooperated well with us, and when demands were put forward, they agreed to all.”

Pratibha Jolly, Principal of Miranda House, in reply to Pinjra Tod said, “As a constituent college of University of Delhi we have been discussing the issue at the highest level.”

However, most of the demands were not met. The hostel curfew was extended from 8:30 PM to 9 PM only, with a few extra night-outs added and number of leaves increased. 

The college had put up notices stating that “due information must be given to the Hostel Administrative Staff before Night Out is availed. This must be duly recorded in the Leave Book.” 

An informal WhatsApp message had been circulated, which stated that the late-night timings will remain the same, and night leaves will be sanctioned on the same day only in case of emergency.

The student collective Pinjra Tod termed the extension of 30 minutes for hostels as a “joke” and demanded complete abolition of curfew timing at Miranda House. 

Pinjra Tod said, “This extension of half an hour is a cruel joke, another attempt at humiliating and infantilising the dignity, dreams and struggles of women students.”

The true reason for an intensified reaction to these rigorous hostel curfews was allegedly that the college had put up notices stating, “Residents can return to the hostel at any time of the night on a night-out and short-notice/ emergency night-outs can be availed by filling in a form at the gate and (there) is no need (for) one day advance notice,” which was far from the reality. 

Following the student’s protest, the students in defiance organised a sit-in that continued all night. The students protested outside the hostel gate and the gates of the hostel remained open. 

The agitators said, “These new changes are important relaxations in the existing rules, but we really refuse to get dragged into this bureaucratic non-sense, which continues to reinforce power in the hands of the administration.”

The series of protest led by Pinjra Tod, paves way for new meaning of freedom for many hostellers. 

Feature Image Credits: News Ink 

Chhavi Bahmba

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Despite several marches and protests, the curfew rules in several girls hostels in the University haven’t changed. Now, the organisation Pinjratod, which has been on the forefront of this movement, has new plans.

Two days ago, Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology saw a wave of uprising as the women students refused to enter the hostel till their curfew time was raised. Yesterday, students from Punjab University in Patiala too carried on their hunger strike against curfew timings, with one of the girls even suffering from a case of dengue. Meanwhile, all this week and today, the walls of North Campus are being enveloped by rectangular posters sporting reddish hues, posters calling out students for responding to the call of change echoing all over the nation, for joining Pinjratod’s all night indefinite protest.

Pinjratod has also been news in Delhi University with their bold approach in making PGs and hostels less regressive for women students. It started from one cause but now stands for many other injustices that students in the University of Delhi face. Thankfully, with recent protests erupting in different nooks and corners of the country on these very same issues, Pinjratod’s support is only increasing. Often, the case has been that boys hostels are found to have more flexible timings or curfew as compared to the hostels of their female counterparts, which is seen as unequal and unjustified by many. The dissatisfaction behind this can clearly be seen in examples mentioned above. However, this time, it seems like an all out demand against the authority as the indefinite protest is aimed at demanding a “complete removal of curfew for all girls hostels”.

A member of Pinjratod on the condition of anonymity states in conversation with the DU Beat correspondent, “The freedom of women students in university spaces has constantly been curtailed through the imposition of arbitrary curfews by hostels, under the pretext of “safety.” Pinjratod has been persistently raising demands with the DU authorities against the discriminatory curfews and the time has come we remind them again. A memorandum has been submitted to the Vice Chancellor, with the various demands regarding hostel allocation, curfew timings and fee structure, etc. As always, there has been no action taken by the authorities. It is about time we rise to the call of the muffled voices of the women students across colleges and we appeal to all women to join us for the indefinite protest that is to be held on Monday. This fight for liberation shall be maintained. Our oppression shall not be trivialised and this blatant sexism in the name of caution by our detainers shall not be normalised.”

Being promoted with the posters reading “DU against curfew”, the protest is set to start from 4 pm on the 8th of October. There are other allied demands such as need-based allocation of hostel seats (instead of merit) and strict implementation of SC, ST, OBC and PwD reservations in all women’s hostels. With many negotiations, aid by the Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) and scores of protests, the University hasn’t really nodded their heads to Pinjratod’s demands in the past. So, would this week’s effort by Pinjratod succeed in breaking the shackles of the University’s unequal hostel rules or would it again lead to inaction and further delays on the part of the authorities? That, only time will tell.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Shaurya Singh Thapa
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Recently, the Ambedkar-Ganguly Students House for Women shifted its curfew timings from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. Students dissented but refrained from protesting in the fear that their hostel seat would be taken away from them.

The hostel provides accommodation to postgraduate DU students with a majority of the seats reserved for the students of Delhi School of Economics (DSE) and ST and SC categories. The unilateral change in the curfew timings was brought about by the hostel warden, K. Ratnabali, without any consultations with the elected Students Welfare Association. This could be an act of violation of the regulations of the University Grants Commission that occupies the position of the law in the collegiate space. The regulations put forward by the UGC deny safety as an excuse to restrict mobilisation among female students. There were further rules proclaiming that “Students cannot interfere while authorities make or modify rules”, thus paralysing all participation of the students in the management committees.

Pinjra Tod, a students’ collective that focuses on the right to freedom and fights sexism in university spaces, said:

Such infantilisation of university students is unacceptable! When it was pointed out that this act is a violation of UGC guidelines, the authorities focused their energies to silence protests rather than addressing legitimate concerns of students. They deployed pressure tactics such as:
– Denial of University housing and using it as a threat to silence/discourage dissenting voices from surfacing.
– Denial of democratic participation in the process of drafting of hostel rules.
– Forcing students to ratify the rules stated in the handbook which have been surreptitiously altered to deny residents any participation in the rule-making process!
– Forcing students to sign affidavits and undertakings that amount to waiving off their right to protest as a precondition to securing a hostel seat.

The victimisation of dissenting voices among students and infringement of their democratic fundamental rights have always been contentious situations across university spaces because of which harassment, oppression, abuse, and even coercion often remains unreported.

Looking further into the issue, an emergency general body meeting was held by the Warden, where she explained that the rules were being misinterpreted. One could come in till 4 a.m. after the 9 p.m. curfew, which would be regarded as a late night.

A resident of the hostel stated, “We thought that our exit timing was shifted from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. Basically that is true that once you sign the attendance by 9 p.m., you cannot exit. But we did not have any idea about this late-night thing. So, she (warden) was like if you people had a problem or wanted clarification why didn’t you approach us. We were planning to do so but as people were not readmitted to the hostel yet, we couldn’t decide which will be the right time to approach her. As the rule book says, you cannot question authority. I really don’t know whether it was a consequence or we genuinely misinterpreted it.”

The residents are currently waiting for a written resolution to dissolve this ambiguity.


Feature Image Credits: University of Delhi

Trishala Dutta
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