Female hostellers of  Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi won an ongoing battle with authorities to get their stay-out timings extended. The authorities agreed after hundreds of women went out on a protest saying curfew hours in hostels were not only discriminatory but also unreasonable. On Monday night (March 19), they protested outside the hostel gate and then marched to the Vice-Chancellor’s house demanding extension of curfew hours.

Women have been protesting the discriminatory curfew timings (different for men and women) from quite some time. But this passionate protest was triggered when the guards did not allow a girl to collect food she had ordered citing curfew time.

It is not generic discrimination but also gender discrimination as the male students have no such curfew timings.

Jamia girls protest
Jamia girls (Pinjra Tod)

The Proctor of Jamia has accepted all demands of the women students and given it in writing. This includes extending curfew timing from 8  pm to 10:30pm, greater accessibility of hostel premises, reading room and common room in every hostel with 24-hour accessibility

Monday’s development is a major victory for women hostelers as they are fed up with the numerous rules that restrict their mobility and autonomy.

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How the protest began

After multiple rounds of negotiations with the administration, the women students decided to call for a demonstration on Monday. “The aim was send a strong message to the administration that they refuse to be silent anymore, and that they are prepared to collectively fight for what has been due to them for a very long time,” said a press release from Pinjra Tod.

Jamia girls protest
Jamia girls (Pinjra Tod)

A group of girls, including members of Pinjra Tod, demonstrated outside the college hostel gate at 7.30 pm. In two hours, the provost of the old hostel accepted all the demands. The students demanded it in writing, but he refused.

The univ has also agreed for immediate release of promised refunds of various hostel charges. It has said the administration will not take disciplinary action on students involved in the protest.

Provost Dr. S Azar Khursheed told PTI that the administration has now issued a notice extending the deadline.

“The Proctor of Jamia has accepted all demands of the women students and given it in writing. This includes extending curfew timing from 8 pm to 10:30 pm, greater accessibility of hostel premises, reading room and common room in every hostel with 24-hour accessibility,” said a Pinjra Tod statement.

The reforms also cover improvement in food quality, removal of rule that requires 24-hour prior ‘permission’ for taking ‘leave’, it added.

The univ has also agreed for immediate release of promised refunds of various hostel charges. It has said the administration will not take disciplinary action on students involved in the protest.

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