“It is quite absurd that we have to be locked in our hostel after 6 pm. We would like to go out and get some work done, get some food or even move around within the campus, but I guess we have become used to the condition now,” said a woman hosteller from Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma College (GGDSD) College Sector 32, more commonly known as SD College in the city. Many students, especially women are dissatisfied with the curfew timings for their hostel, which are 6 pm for women and 9 pm for men.
“Of course it is a little suffocating, and unfair, but their logic is that a lot of women hostellers create nuisance, drink alcohol on campus etc. Hence, because of a few, many have to suffer and stay locked in their hostel post sun down,” said Shubhdeep Gill, who resides in the SD college hostel.
Beyond the moral policing, hostel wardens have cited parents’ apprehensions regarding their childrens’ safety as the reason for the early curfew. “They say if they extend the timing till later in the evening, many parents will have complaints so their hands are bound,” added Gill.
In contrast, the Panjab University campus has no curfew for hostel timings. Though women who come back to the hostel post 11 pm have to write their name in a register before entering the premises. At SD college, the curfew timings for women hostellers is 6 pm during the winters, which gets extended to 6:30 pm during the summer. While for the men’s hostel, the curfew time is 9 pm throughout the year. Post the curfew, students are not even allowed to roam within the campus premises or access the library.
“Earlier, students were not even allowed to order food to their hostel post curfew, let alone venture out,” said student council president at SD College, Sahil Gujjar. Gujjar and his fellow council members were able to extend the curfew timings for women from 5:30 pm to the current timings before the academic session began in March 2019. The notice on extended timings, which was signed by administrative officials including the Dean Student Welfare and the Principal of the college, also stated that girls be allowed to order in food till 8 pm.
“No non-vegetarian food is allowed inside of course, but yes we allow them to order food till 8 pm now” said Poonam, the hostel warden for the neighbouring Dev Samaj College for Women, where students from SD college also reside.
According to the warden, students are allowed to venture out on occasion if they bring notarised affidavits signed by their parents, authourising the wardens to allow the students to leave the hostel post curfew. On the cumbersome nature of the demand to bring notarised affidavits as proof, the warden said, “We can’t trust anything else, because it can be easily forged by the students.” Students living at the hostel inside the SD college campus have to get a physical copy of a form filled and signed by their parents in order to leave the hostel post curfew.
“It is all for the women’s interest only. It is for their safety and security. If all the parents agree to change the timings, we will do it, but as of now security comes first,” said Balram Thakur, Principal of SD college.
The Dean Student Welfare, Dr Ajay Sharma, was also contacted for comment, but has not responded.
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