Other States

At Panjab University, girls demand freedom at midnight

Protest demanding unrestricted movement in hostels at all hours enters 12th day

The protest of a group of Panjab University students demanding round-the-clock freedom of movement in girls’ hostels entered the 12th day on Friday.

Despite the PU campus wearing a relatively deserted look with most students away because of the festive season break, the spirits of the group of protesters — including members of the university’s Campus Students’ Council besides that of Students For Society, All India Students’ Association and Punjab Students’ Union (Lalkar) — were high. The protesters are not ready to accept anything less than what they term as “freedom from patriarchy”.

Proposal dismissed

“Why is there restriction on girls’ movement in the name of safety or security? We should be allowed to enter and exit hostels at all hours of the day — be it day or night. We can take care of ourselves. Our agitation will continue till our demand is met,” said Kanupriya, president of the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council.

The protesting students dismissed the proposal of the university authorities that female residents can be allowed to move in and out of the hostel between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. “The authorities, after the meeting earlier this week, have come up with the proposal to allow girls to go out of the hostel between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. However, a register will be maintained to record the entry and exit time of the residents. Moreover, after 11 p.m., the girls would be required to give an application to step out of the hostel. We are not accepting this. We need complete freedom of movement,” added Ms. Kanupriya.

Panel set up

A committee has been constituted by the PU Vice-Chancellor to look into the issue. Emanuel Nahar, Dean, Students Welfare, said the committee had met on Monday.

“The committee discussed that girl residents can be allowed to exit the hostel between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Further, according to the Panjab University handbook of hostel rules 2018-19, residents are allowed 10 late entries in a month,” he said, adding that the committee pointed out that students writing their MPhil and PhD dissertation, and master’s students in law and engineering courses are already allowed late entry in the hostels. “Also, all students are allowed late entries for visiting the library,” he said.

“Writing an application or penning down details about my movement in the register every time is an intrusion into my private life. We are grown-ups and know what’s good and bad,” said Ravinder Kaur, an MPhil student.

The boys have also come out in support of the demand for unrestricted movement in girls’ hostels. Damanpreet of SFS said, “The freedom of movement will go a long way in increasing socialisation on the campus. It will aid the democratic and political consciousness of students, which will ultimately benefit the younger generation.”

The protesters plan to dig their heels in until their demand is met. “This year we will use the platform of ‘Agaaz Fest’ — the annual festival, which is organised by the Campus Students’ Council — to highlight our demand. We will encourage discussions and debates on the issue and are optimistic that all students will support us,” said Ms. Kanupriya.

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Printable version | May 22, 2020 8:27:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/at-panjab-university-girls-demand-freedom-at-midnight/article25459045.ece

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