Students Protest Demanding Removal of Hostel Curfew in Miranda House, DU
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 30, demanding that the Miranda House hostel curfew be rolled back. Earlier, on October 8 and 10, Pinjra Tod had organised protest marches and all night sit-ins in North Campus, Delhi University.
On October 10, the activists of Pinjra Tod had given the deadline of October 30 to the university administration to accept all their demands. The Principal of Miranda House College, Dr. 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.
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.
Demands Remain Unfulfilled despite Relaxations
Except the half an hour relaxation in the curfew timing and the few extra leaves and night outs, the existing rules remained the same and they are not what the students have been demanding for the past three years. They are not ready to accept the changes and stop protesting as the larger demands continue to remain unfulfilled.
On the night of October 30, when the students who had gathered outside the Arts Faculty reached the hostel gate of Miranda House College, the Vice Principal Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda came out to talk to them. She explained the new rules, and was met with protests and sloganeering by the students, saying that their actual demands have still not been met.
“We are told the curfew is for the safety of the women, so will the permission from the college to stay out keep us safe on other nights?” asked one protester.
“If we don’t have to follow the curfew fourteen days a month, why can’t it be removed altogether? Why keep it at all?” asked another. The Vice Principal was unable to answer their questions, saying that the decisions have been taken by the administration, and the issue was still being discussed by them.
The students are tired of being stuck in this cycle of their demands being discussed by the administration but not being met. “Decades of struggles have taught us how these are nothing but vague assurances at a moment when the administration is under massive pressure. We will not be fooled by these statements anymore, WE HAVE GIVEN YOU ENOUGH TIME! NO MORE, REALLY NO MORE!” read a post on the Pinjra Tod Facebook page.
As the protest continued all night, the hostel gates of the college remained open for the first time in history.
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