By Abhimanyu for Youth Ki Awaaz:
Accommodation is a major problem faced by female students of Delhi as all of them cannot manage to get the limited seats available in the hostels functioning under various universities. There has been a constant need for more hostels for women who are not residents of Delhi. A legislation controlling alleged arbitrary rent hikes by landlords is also one of the demands of the out-station students as most of the time, they have to pay exorbitant rents.
Pinjra Tod, an autonomous movement of women students, has been taking up these issues. Delhi Commission for Women issued a notice on May 7, to all the registered universities in Delhi, initiating an enquiry based on the report that Pinjra Tod had presented to it as a complaint in November last year.
Youth Ki Awaaz went through the 45-page document that Pinjra Tod submitted to DCW.
According to the testimonies of female students cited in it, the major problem is of the ‘curfew-timing’ – i.e., the timings which the students are required to follow strictly, especially at nights. Generally, women students are expected to be back in their hostels between seven to eight pm. This makes it impossible for them to access the libraries running under the aegis of DU which are open till midnight, especially during exams. This also creates difficulties for girls wishing to participate in extra-curricular activities, since these programs often continue beyond the ‘curfew-timings.’
Many complaints regarding alleged double standards practised by authorities when it comes to timings for men also form a part of the report. Complaints show that men have all the freedom as far as their movements are concerned. They do not have to follow any ‘curfew-timings.’ Alleged harassment by the concerned authorities, including landlords, by calling up parents in the name of safety and security, was also raised by the women students in the report.
Pinjra Tod held a press conference regarding the same today, May 9 at Indian Women’s Press Corps’ office in Delhi. Avantika from Pinjra Tod shared her experience on working with the movement in an exclusive chat with YKA. Please watch and share.