Recently, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), India’s premier educational institute issued a notice to the female students residing in the hostels that they would not to be allowed entry after 8 pm. JMI has drawn a lot of flak after the issuance of this notice which has been condemned as sexist, discriminatory and that it violates the fundamental right to equality. After much furor, students from the girls hostel wrote to the Vice-Chancellor, Talat Ahmed, to do away with the 8 pm deadline and highlighted that boys were allowed to return by 10 pm and even if they are late, and all they need to do is make an entry, reports The Hindustan Times.
The 8 pm deadline existed even before the new directive, but the residents of Hall of Girls were allowed to stay out till 10 pm with written permission of their local guardian. The new rules, however, bar this and no late night outs are allowed at all. The Daily Mail, on 19th of August, reported that Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has sent a show-cause notice to the Vice-Chancellor of the university in the wake of this issue. The DCW Chief, Swati Maliwal, has asked the Vice-Chancellor to explain such restrictions only on girl students and explain the reasons within 7 days. “There is no curfew on students and the 8pm deadline is an old one. Even now, research scholars and PG students stay out till late because of their studies . We are a responsible institution and safety of our students is paramount. We are looking into the matter and we will respond to the DCW within the stipulated time,” said Mukesh Ranjan, JMI spokesperson. A report at India Today states that students of JNU, DU and Ambedkar University also wrote to DCW about similar gender bias at their varsities.
One can be assured that students and organizations are not going to take this issue lightly, and voicing their protests in various forms. The fact that the DCW has taken cognizance and issued a show cause notice to the VC goes onto show that this debate is far from over. Additionally, it might lead to united protests from students of other universities as well.