In a progressive move, IIT-Roorkee has called off the rule of curfew time in their girls’ hostel. The rule came into effect on March 1. Now the rules for boys’ and girls’ hostel are at par with one another and after many years of bias, gender equality has been restored in the campus.

However, this wasn’t an easy struggle for the girls of IIT-Roorkee, said a girl studying in the prestigious institute. The third year student of B Tech who wanted to remain anonymous told SheThePeople.TV, “The struggle actually began when I came here in the first year. Many girls wanted to get rid of the curfew but there was no major protest against it that happened then.”

“However, last September, three-four girls collectively decided that it was high time that we get a curfew-free hostel,” the student added.

Another B Tech third year student, who also volunteered in this protest, said on condition of anonymity that she attended a few Student Affair Community (SAC) meetings with the dean and newly-appointed director, A K Chaturvedi.

“Since the new director came in, he kind of speeded up the process of abolishing the curfew time. He was earlier at IIT-Kanpur where there are no curfews in hostels. So he was well-versed with the idea and implemented it in much lesser time,” said one of the B Tech girls.

“Earlier we did not have such high levels of security as we do now, which allows us to freely roam around in the campus,” said one of the female hostellers to SheThePeople.TV

The earlier curfew of 11 pm in the girls’ hostel, which has been in place for long in IIT-Roorkee, restricted girls from doing a lot of activities. The girls tell us that it majorly affected them during times of exam and fest preparation.

“The college keeps its facilities like library and laboratories open 24X7 during exams which we were not able to use until now because we had to get back by 11 pm. And the same happened with us during pre-fest days when we are preparing for dance or skit. We had to stop much before 11 pm to reach the hostel on time. And not just that, girls weren’t even selected in the clubs that operate late at night as we couldn’t participate much. Even if some of us girls were selected in the clubs, the guys would give us menial or unworthy jobs,” said the female hostellers of Kasturba Bhawan, explaining their problems.

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Before the curfew timings were called off, the institute prepared for it in terms of safety measures and increased security. The girls justify the concerns of the director for taking so long to pass the rule, saying Roorkee is a very small town in Uttar Pradesh with many small villages located around it. “Earlier, we did not have such high levels of security as we do now, which allows us to freely roam around in the campus. So first the institute ensured safety and then allowed us a curfew-free hostel.”

“The students have been demanding this for long and we have decided to do away with the restrictions. Like boys, girls can also step out of their hostels and roam around the campus round the clock,” the institute’s director, AK Chaturvedi, told PTI.

Other than the curfew, many more rules have been amended, now girls and boys can enter each other’s common rooms and study at any given time. The institute has installed two safety vans for the security of girls that will be patrolling the campus at all hours. Girls can also call these vans like they can call any PCR in case of emergency,” said Chaturvedi.

The curfew abolishing rule by IIT-Roorkee comes across as a breath of fresh air, particularly when girls in the capital are still struggling to move freely. Delhi University has stricter rules than IIT-Roorkee even after claiming to be progressive and liberal. The curfew debate has stirred many controversies off late. Pinjra Tod, a collective that was born to protest against hostel curfew timings, has spread its wings in all parts of the city and actively engages in conversations regarding women’s safety, curfew and sexual crimes against women.