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#PinjraTod movement sees a victory (of sorts) at RMLNLU after change in hostel timings

Bar & Bench

Shreya Vajpei & Anuj A

The Pinjra Tod initiative, a campaign that grew out of a Facebook page in early August, scored a minor victory recently at the Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University.

After a number of student protests, RMLNLU’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Gurdip Singh, directed a change in hostel timings for girl students, and assured students that any gender-based discrimination in campus rules would be done away with.

The protests itself began earlier this week, after a student suffered a broken arm due to an accidental fall within the court campus. When the student was brought back, it was 10:15 pm, forty-five minutes past the permissible time. The student was made to submit an application for this “delay”, and then was forced to wait outside the hostel with the guards claiming that the hostel keys were with the matron. The next day, the student was served an expulsion notice, debarring her from the hostel for not complying with the hostel rules and misbehaving with the guards.

After a number of protests, the Vice Chancellor, finally agreed to look into the grievances, and also cancelled the expulsion letter served on the student.

Prof. Gurdip Singh told the students that,

“I support gender equality. There will be no discrimination between boys and girls”.

The students also say that they faced threats from the faculty, including remarks to the effect that marks would be deducted for students who protest the hostel rules. When this was brought to the notice of Prof. Singh, he told the students that he would not allow such intimidation to take place.

Although the change in timings is a positive change, at the heart of the matter lies the unequal treatment meted out to boys and girls. According to students at RMLNLU, when it comes to the Boys Hostel, timings are not strictly enforced. Furthermore, security cameras have been installed throughout the campus, combined with an increase in patrolling.

To then force the girl students to return to the hostel earlier than the boys under the pretext of security is patently unfair, argue the RMLNLU students.

(A longer version of this article has been published on The Blue Pencil)