Maneka for 'early curfew' in girls' hostels

Says step will protect them from 'hormonal outbursts'

Maneka for 'early curfew' in girls' hostels

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has kicked up a row after justifying rules for “an early curfew” at girls’ hostels, saying it could protect them from their “hormonal outbursts”.

“As a parent who’s sending a daughter to a college, or a son, I would expect her and him to be protected. And perhaps one of the protections is against themselves. When you are 16 or 17 you are also hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a ‘Lakshman Rekha’ is drawn. It really is for your own safety,” she told a news channel.

Maneka’s remarks came after she was asked why girls in hostels should have “an early curfew” and not the boys.

However, on being asked on the news channel why boys should be treated differently, the Union minister was quick to clarify that similar hostel rules should be in place for the boys too.

“Yes, so maybe the same deadlines should be there for both boys and girls... Why should the boys be allowed to wander about on the campus after six o’clock? Let them also stay in and do their work,” she said.

Asked if the issue of safety of girls in hostels could be solved by tightening security, Maneka said, “No, not by two Bihari gentlemen at gate with ‘dandas’ (sticks). It has to be solved literally by giving time limits for everything. Give them (boys) two nights to go to the library and two nights for girls.”

The WCD Minister’s views on hostel rules for girls drew flak from a section of the student community and feminists as they came on the eve of the International Women’s Day, which was originally called International Working Women’s Day and is celebrated on March 8 every year.

Delhi University girl students’ Pinjra Tod (literally, break the cage) campaign against discriminatory rules in hostels has called for a protest march to the WCD Ministry.

The group also announced a separate protest outside the University Grants Commission’s headquarters here, demanding implementation of its regulations which bar universities from formulating discriminating rules for boys and girls in hostels.
“She has given a deeply patriarchal, casteist and classist statement, she said.

Apart from holding a demonstration outside the UGC, we will take out a march to the WCD Ministry to tell her that these ‘Lakshman Rekhas’ have been and will be transgressed again and again,” said Devangana Kalita, who spearheads the Pinjra Tod campaign in Delhi.
 

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