The whole issue with strict time restrictions at girls hostels in various colleges across India is not new.
Girls living in these hostels often have a very strict rule of what time they are allowed to leave the hostel and what time they have to be back.
Usually the time for this is quite early, somewhere between 8 to 10 pm and girls are then forbidden from leaving their hostel. This has been protested by a lot of girls across the country, who want some freedom and not to be treated like some animal.
But recently, the Panjab University took a progressive step by allowing girls entry into their hostels at any time of the day or night.
What Has Panjab University Done?
The need for the removal of a curfew from girls hostel in Panjab University (PU) was a long battle that had been going on since November of last year.
After a fight of almost 47 days, finally the PU Syndicate has agreed campus entry to girls on a 24/7 basis for the Swami Sarvanand Giri Regional Centre, Hoshiarpur.
The decision came this Saturday, whereby it essentially means that girls can exit their hostel at any time of their convienience, where earlier they had a curfew of 9 pm.
As per the syndicate, that both the Chandigarh and Hoshiarpur regional centre will abide by the same rules.
A few things that have to be followed for this though is that the girls cannot leave college campus. That is, while they can leave their hostel, they cannot step outside the campus itself.
Along with that, the girls who are leaving the hostel premises after 11 pm need to make an entry into a register.
A Long Fight
The fight for gender equality and removal of curfew in Panjab University’s girls hostel has been a long one, spanning almost 2 years.
Where males students had no curfew or time restrictions set on them, even after some male students were victims of crimes like accidents and one even murdered, girls had strict restrictions set on them.
Not only they had to enter their hostel by 9 pm, after which they were locked up for the night, but even during the week, an exclusive female only rule stated that they could leave hostel area for only 5 days per week during set timings.
The male students on the other hand, had no such restrictions and could step out of their hostel and visit the campus any time they wanted.
Apparently, this got so much attention, that a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) was also filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by a Haryana advocate whose daughter was staying in a PU hostel.
The PIL stated that, “In the civilised Indian culture and society, there is restriction on going out of home beyond a certain time. Hence, the demand of the girl students to open the gates of hostels is absolutely illegal, arbitrary, unjust and unfair and be set aside.”
It furthermore gave reasons of how the hostels had adequate facilities like Wi-Fi, tables, chairs, and that female students could order food online.
The PIL then tried to use the age old tactic of scaring with threat of crimes against females like sexual harassment, kidnapping and more and that the restrictions were essentially ‘for the safety of women itself’.
However, it seems that none of these tactics worked and eventually the syndicate at PU has opened the gates for female hostellers at all times of the day.
Apart from Panjab University, there are also various other colleges where girls can enter and exit their hostels any time they want. Some of them include, IIT Madras, IIT Roorkee, IIT Delhi, BITS Pilani, and others.
It is certainly good to see that Indian colleges are coming around to being more relaxed with their female students and not imposing several different rules and regulations on them.
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