The Sree Kerala Varma professor and activist however claimed that not all complaints in the petition, filed by a student against hostel restrictions, were true.

Against curfew for female students Deepa Nishant on Sree Kerala Varma hostel rowImage Courtesy: Deepa Nishant Facebook page
news Controversy Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 16:40

“Caged upbringing of students will always prove to be harmful. Students should be given their space to grow up into responsible adults.” This is the reaction of professor and activist Deepa Nishant, to a petition filed by a student at the Sree Kerala Varma college against regressive rules at the women’s hostels in the institution.

Deepa, who also teaches at Sree Kerala Varma college, insists that students should be treated like the adults that they are.

“Students who come to college are above 18, they should be treated like adults. I don’t believe in restricting female students and imposing curfews on them. They are grown up individuals and with that should come the capability to take care of oneself,” says Deepa.

Deepa spoke to TNM in reaction to the petition filed by a third year student, Anjitha K Jose, against the discriminatory college hostel rules. In a writ petition in the Kerala High Court, Anjitha says that according to the hostel rules, women need to rush to hostel immediately after class. The classes end at 3.30pm and the female students need to enter hostel by 4.30pm on all days, except Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays the hostel gate would close at 6pm. On Sundays and public holidays, students are not allowed to go outside. On Saturdays, the students are allowed to go out only between 3.30pm and 6pm.

She also says that such stringent rules impair the opportunities available to female students, in terms of co-curricular, extra-curricular and self-development activities, such as volunteering at NGOs, attending contests conducted outside the college, participating in art classes etc.

Clause 22 of hostel rules (a copy of which is with TNM) also states that female hostel students cannot take part in political meetings, processions or propaganda in the hostel.

Deepa Nishant however says that this particular rule does not stop students from participating in political activities in the campus, outside the hostel.

“The authorities must have asked the students not to hold political meetings within the hostel. There are no rules that restrict the students from participating in political activities and meetings,” says Deepa.

“Having said that, there are more number of female students in Sree Kerala Varma college than male students. But female students across the state, not just in Kerala Varma college, are not to be seen in the party student unions. This is something that needs to be tackled and most importantly discussed by the political parties among themselves,” adds Deepa.

“We need more female leaders getting nurtured in the college campuses for a bright young future,” she adds.

Meanwhile Deepa also tells TNM that there are other issues in the college campuses that fail to muster media attention but soon need to be addressed.

“There are lot of issues that haven’t got media attention. Do you know that in the same college, only vegetarian food is served in the women’s hostel, whereas the men’s hostel is served non-vegetarian food as well?” Deepa asks.

“Married women find it difficult to get admissions in hostel. I know pregnant and married women who are forced to travel kilometers only because they are denied permission to stay in the hostel,” she adds.

However, Deepa also implores students to be truthful when it comes to their whereabouts when they seek permission from the wardens. Denying students’ allegations that they’re not allowed to even attend the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), Deepa says, “I once spoke with the warden to know if the students were not allowed for IFFK programmes. The warden told me that a group of students had left campus for days after misinforming the warden. They had told the warden they were going home. When the parents called up the warden, she was put in a difficult situation. I condemn such hide and seek behaviour."

When asked if the students were forced to lie to the warden as they wouldn’t have been allowed out if they told the truth, Deepa says, "They had no such restrictions. I spoke to the warden, she had no problems with the students going for IFFK. But there should be transparency in their acts,” Deepa says.


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