A week after a woman student from Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University was not allowed to receive the food she had ordered for post the 8 pm curfew, the women students of the university on Monday, 19 March, rejoiced as the Proctor gave into their demands and increased the curfew from 8pm to 10.30 pm.
Earlier in the day, a group of women students from the university launched a protest against the “discriminatory” restrictions imposed on them, in view of the student being denied her food.
One of the inmates of the Old Hall of Girls’ Residence of the university alleged that the student was not allowed to receive food she had ordered for herself after the “curfew timing”.
“Similarly numerous rules and regulations restrict the mobility and autonomy of adult women in our institutions of higher education,” she said.
According to a Facebook post by Pinjra Tod, an activist group, the students, as part of their protest, demanded that they also be allowed greater accessibility of hostel premises, reading room and common room in every hostel with 24 hour accessibility, and improvement in food quality, among others.
The demands also included that no disciplinary action be taken against the students participating in the protest.
Speaking to PTI, Provost Dr S Azar Khursheed said that a notice had been issued, extending the deadline.
Initially, instead of agreeing to the demand of extension of curfew till 10.30pm, the administration tried to placate the situation by saying you can get four ‘late nights’ in a month, where you can stay out with prior parental permission till 10pm.
The students refused to accept this, and demanded the extension of curfew to 10.30pm, which means they can stay out till that time every night if they wish, and no parental permission will be needed for that. The adminstration then agreed to the same.
According to the previous rule, women students were allowed entry inside the hostel till 8 pm and food items could be received till the same time, university authorities said.
There is no such restriction on male students.
A third year student Nasima Choudhury, however, said, “Though the deadlines were extended, we want it to go till 11.30 pm. Food from mess is not available after 10 pm. What if a student wants to eat after that?”
Students said they will submit a memorandum to vice-chancellor Talat Ahmed after their protest.
Khursheed said, “They may raise their demands, but the university administration will take decisions according to the policies it follows.”
(With inputs from PTI)