Women – a bunch of them – stayed out from their hostel, singing songs, shouting Azaadi, shouting ‘break the curfew’ at the Sree Kerala Varma College in Thrissur, Kerala. On Wednesday evening, the women didn’t return to the hostel at the usual curfew time of 4.30pm, but stayed at the college campus till 8.30pm, demanding that the authorities hold a discussion with them about new curfew timings, as stipulated by the High Court.
The court order had come on February 21. A month has passed. But there has still been no word from the authorities about the new curfew time for the women at the hostel. The court, answering a one and a half year old petition filed by former student Anjitha K Jose, said that the women could take part in political activities and they could also go for evening and night shows of movies, both of which were earlier forbidden by the hostel rules.
But the court had not interfered in the curfew fixed by the hostel. It said that new timings could be fixed after the management holds a discussion with the students.
The students got a copy of the order only last Saturday and they waited till Monday to meet the college principal. “We were sent off giving different reasons and the management never responded to the court order. On Wednesday, when we finally met the principal, we didn’t get a positive response. They said the management has not received the judgment copy. Citing such illogical reasons, they are pushing the discussion we are seeking and by Monday, exams would begin for the third year students, who are actively fighting for the new curfew timings,” says Salmath, a third year Bachelors student and hosteller.
The students are supposed to enter at 4.30pm on four days of the week, including Wednesdays, and would be allowed to stay out till 6pm on the other days. “But this Wednesday, we stayed out in protest, demanding that the court verdict be implemented, that the management call us for a meeting to discuss the new curfew timings that would be acceptable to a majority of the women. We went in only when the hostel warden, former union advisor and our professor Pramod sir, and some union members came to tell us that tomorrow morning they would reach out to the management, and a decision about the meeting will be conveyed to us by noon,” Salmath adds.