Recently Jamia Millia Islamia has barred its girl students from seeking permission to return to their hostels after 8 PM. Keeping in view the same, students of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Ambedkar university have written an online petition to the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) complaining about similar gender bias at their campuses also.
Around 250 students of the aforesaid three universities have duly signed an open letter which was addressed to DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal. The letter objected ‘moral policing’ and asked her to lay down all new set of rules and regulations for the hostellers at these universities. DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal till date has not received the letter. On interviewing, Ms. Maliwal said, “It hasn’t come to the commission yet, but we will definitely look into it.”
After the incident at Jamia University came into light, DCW sent show-cause notice to Jamia’s vice-chancellor Talat Ahmed asking him to give an explanation that why such a restriction was imposed only on girl students and not on male students.
The letter addressed to DCW was signed by 265 students stated,
“We wish to bring to your attention that such ‘sexist’ practices and regulations are not limited only to Jamia, but are an integral feature of colleges and universities across Delhi and the country in general…. Cultures and practices of moral policing of girl students by the administration are abound in these institutions. Lack of adequate women hostels and steep fee hikes in the existing ones make women even more vulnerable to such discriminatory practices”
Students are of the view that such biased and strict rules and regulations have been laid down keeping in view the “protection” and safety of “women”. When those in power in the State were not getting a way out to provide safe and secure city to its women, the only solution left with them was to lock up thousands of adult women in hostels after the sun sets down and restricting them from the access to some of the golden opportunities and experiences where they have to use their potentialities.
Further the girls pointed that a safe city cannot be built by keeping hundreds of women in cage like hostels or just by installing CCTV cameras at every nook and corner. Rather a safe city can only be created when the women especially young women will come out and challenge the years old prevailing patriarchal norms and regulations, will be able to freely roam around, inhabit and negotiate the city along with its public places as per their own taste and preferences or the way they would like to.
Students also demanded that the DCW can inspect all the hostels in Delhi any time and further hold public consultations with women via which the issue of moral policing can be brought into limelight and into the notice of common public. The hostel/university authorities should be issued with such guidelines that put a ban on the practice of such behavior or practices with adequate punishments if someone happens to break them off.
We are of the opinion that this should end, at one side women are giving fierce competition to men in all fields and other side, are deprived of their basic right of freedom.