According to a news article published in the Indian Express, dated Sept. 19, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) has informed the Delhi Women’s Commission (DCW) in a letter that: “Jamia Millia Islamia is in the process of revisiting the extant guidelines in various respects to uphold gender equity on the campus.”
Jamia’s letter to the DCW was in response to a notice issued by the DCW to Jamia in August, seeking a response to discriminatory hostel rules, after it took cognizance of Jamia students protest against a new rule prohibiting female hostel residents from taking any late night outs, thus enforcing an 8 p.m. curfew for all girls hostel residents with no exceptions. (To know more read: New Sexist Hostel Policy Upsets Jamia Girls Hostel Residents)
This recent pronouncement by the university administration has made the protesting students hopeful for a more just and equitable treatment by the university.
One of the protesting residents of Jamia girls hostel, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from Jamia authorities, said: “It’s a positive sign and we welcome the step.”
However, the aggrieved students are fearful that the assurances provided by the university administration are mere rhetoric with no real intention to change anything.
One of the female students leading the protest said: “We hope this is not just a hollow assurance. We hope when the administration revisits the hostel rules they will take care of all the demands raised by the girls who have protested against the rules.”
Hostel residents have also expressed the need for student representation in the process of revisiting university policies concerning students.
A student said: “When they revisit the rules, we want our representation as well, as the rules are meant to be imposed on us. We should have a say. We sincerely hope that Jamia will live up to its word and correct the mistakes it has made and ensure equality in true sense.”
While female students demand gender equality with their counterparts, they want to make it clear, gender equality does not mean that the freedoms and liberties of male students will be curtailed in order to make them equally regressive with the female students.
One of the students said: “When they revisit the rules and come up with the new ones, they have to ensure that all rules are completely identical to the — EXISTING — hostel rules in the boys hostel, which would mean that there would be no Roll Call/Attendance, and we will be allowed to enter till 10 p.m. Also, if we are ever late, all we would be required to do is make an entry in the register with the security guard at the gate. No local guardian’s permission will be required for taking a leave, and no 24-hour prior permission will be required either.”
Jamia students’ struggle against gender discrimination with respect to hostels has found solidarity with students and alumni of other universities in Delhi, currently running a campaign called, #PinjraTod: Break the Hostel Locks,” demanding an end to restrictive rules for women hostel residents everywhere. As a consequence, this issue has become a concern not only for Jamia students, but for many more all over Delhi, if not India. All hoping for a favorable change in policies at Jamia.