#PinjraTod: Delhi Students Protest Sexist Women’s Hostel Rules
Women in Delhi’s various universities have had enough. On a Monday morning in September, women from the city’s universities took to the streets to protest the draconian hostel curfews and strictly regulated and restricted leaves — rules that their male counterparts are not subject to. ‘Pinjra Tod’ was spray painted across gates, walls and roads in and around universities, encouraging women to ‘break the cage’ and take a stand against sexist rules that curtail movement, and encourage surveillance.
Women who participated in the movement speak out on why it is vital that the cage be broken:
Despite the fact that living in a hostel is integral to one’s college experience, it is common knowledge that men and women are subject to different rules in college hostels. Women have curfews to keep them ‘safe’, and leaves are granted grudgingly and strictly monitored. Men, on the other hand, are largely exempted from these rules; their ‘safety’ is not administrative responsibility. In other words, women are the only individuals whose movements must be controlled.
The campaign, which began in August, has witnessed the enthusiastic participation of women from Delhi University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Ambedkar University and the National Law University, Delhi.
The campaign did not, however, go off smoothly. Posters on Delhi University’s Wall of Democracy were torn to shreds, and threatening and abusive notices were put in their place. Those responsible were none other than members of the BJP’s student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who recently swept the Delhi University Students Union Elections, well-known to be a horseplay.
The Quint contacted Akhil Chaudhary of the ABVP, who threatened the protesters with sexual and physical abuse. Chaudhary, on his part, insisted that he didn’t threaten anyone, only defended “an attack on the ABVP’s reputation.” He also said that these women were doing it for “the publicity.” An FIR has been filed against him.
(Video editor: Sayantan Datta)