Three months after Jamia Millia Islamia extended hostel curfew timings for women students from 8 pm to 10.30 pm following protests, university authorities have pushed back curfew timings to 9 pm, and disallowed protests against hostel rules and regulations.
Along with application forms for those seeking hostel seats for the academic year 2018-19, the university also issue a new ‘Hostel Manual’ for the Hall of Girls’ Residence on Wednesday night, which lays down 9 pm as the curfew time Other new rules include restrictions on students taking hostel leaves and ‘late nights’ on weekdays, with students asked to submit a copy of air/rail tickets if they take outstation leaves.
A woman student claimed that the rules which were relaxed after protests in March have been enforced again, such as the need to submit a ‘leave proforma’ 24 hours in advance. Such a ‘manual’ has not been issued for the men’s hostels, where such curfews and leave regulations are not operational
A Jamia spokesperson said that the decision to roll back curfew timing to 9 pm was taken after many parents complained about safety issues, and did not want their children to be out till 10.30 pm. “The 9 pm curfew timing is quite generous. It is far more relaxed than at other girls’ hostels like in Indraprastha College (IP) and Lady Shri Ram College for Women. If some students don’t want any restrictions, they are free to seek accommodation elsewhere. The rule relaxation after the protest was a contingency to put a plug on it,” the spokesperson said.
Kokab Aleem, a former student, said that the protests had erupted out of frustration experienced by a large number of students. “Around 600 students had joined the protest and it had lasted for four hours, which pressured the provost to sign our charter of demands. Women students were completely frustrated with the mountain of rules which infantalised us, and restricted our mobility and access to facilities like the 24-hour reading room,” she said.
Along with the new rules, a clause stating, “I will not indulge in any protest or signature campaign against hostel rules, regulations or timing,” has been added to the undertaking, meant to be signed by women students applying for hostel seats. Aleem claimed that this is “clearly a move to instill fear in the hearts of students.”
The Jamia spokesperson said that this was done because, “…protests are disruptive, and other students cannot study because of the activity of a handful of students”.
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