Of untimely issues at St Stephen's

Hostel Mess

Of untimely issues at St Stephen's

It seems Delhi University and its colleges have become used to controversies. Latest in the line is the deadline curfew (read crisis) in the girls hostel at St. Stephen’s. It isn’t as though it ends at a curfew. The girls are locked up in their hostel after 10 pm, barred from even being allowed to roam the campus or corridors.

The notification once again raises the perennial question of why are rules different for boys? Why are the rules so harsh for girls that they make them feel claustrophobic? But this latest diktat by St. Stephen’s authorities is not about being out of the campus throughout the night, its about being disallowed the basic freedom to roam around their own campus.

Apparently, the 10 pm ruling has always been in place. The difference is that, now it is being very strictly enforced - to the extent that the girls are locked in their rooms and blocks by the warden! This is not the case for boys who are allowed to roam freely. As for being allowed a night out, once again the boys are granted permission while the girls are not!

Metrolife spoke to some Stephenians to know their side. Nidhi Rathi, a IIIrd year Maths (H) student and a hosteller, shares, “First, there shouldn’t be a deadline. But even if there is one, it should be equally applicable for boys. We should have an open campus and why can’t we even roam within the campus?” But if the rule has always been in the books, why protest? “We are more aware of our rights now and my parents are supporting me. We girls are only allowed to visit our local guardians.”

A day scholar Aarushi Massey, a IInd year History (H) student seconds Nidhi. “This is not done. A 10 pm deadline is too much. At least girls should be allowed to roam inside the campus. I can understand this strictness but the rules should be the same for all. There are other issues also like one cannot wear skirts inside the hostel mess. They should understand we are students, not prisoners.”

Girls forced into their rooms after 10 pm every night want an end to the curfew. Priyanka Dass Saharia, a IIIrd year Sociology student and head of Women and Gender Studies Cell, says, “This is total gender disparity. I somewhere feel that our college believes in patriarchal rules. These rules are making the girls very claustrophobic but we don’t have any choice.”

However, the college authority justify the stance. “We as an institution has some responsibility for these students. One cannot enter and exit the college anytime they want. We lock the block because we mark attendance at 10 and after that we cannot leave these girls. We are answerable to the parents and we all know the current scenario of the City, rapes are happening every minute,” says Karen Gabriel, spokesperson of St. Stephen’s.

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