Pinjra Tod Activists Protest Against Hostel Curfews in Delhi University
Pinjra Tod activists and Delhi University students assembled for an all-night protest in North Campus, DU, demanding a rollback of the curfew.
October 10, 2018
On the night of Monday, October 8, Pinjra Tod: Break the Hostel Locks organised an all-night protest in front of Arts Faculty, North Campus, against the unreasonable and arbitrary curfews in Delhi University hostels.
Pinja Tod has been raising these issues to the administration over the last three years, and had even submitted a memorandum to the VC a week earlier. However, no action was taken by the authorities. Their charter of demands is divided into three sections, namely Hostel Rules, Hostel Fee and Infrastructure, and Hostel Allocation. It consisted of several demands, including removal of curfews/in-times from all the hostels of Delhi University, construction of a new women’s hostel for PwD students, and abolishment of the interview system for allocation of hostel seats.
Yesterday’s protest was called as a response to the lack of actions on the administration’s behalf. The students and activists from Pinjra Tod first assembled in front of the Arts faculty, Delhi University around 5 pm, and shared their experiences of various hostels in the university. Then, they tried to enter the proctor’s office, whose gates were still open. But the guards closed the gates as soon as they started entering the premises, which angered the protesters, and they stormed the gate, demanding the proctor to come out and talk to them.
When the deputy proctor and the proctor finally came out, they refused to provide the protestors with any reassurance, only saying that the concerned authorities have been notified of the issues. Four hundred protesters then blocked the Mall Road for one and a half hours, demanding that someone from the administration come and talk to them. Devangana Kalita, a member of Pinjra Tod, told Newsclick that the protesters were manhandled by the police. “There were mostly male constables, and very few female constables,” she said. The police attacked and dragged the protesters, during which one student was reportedly almost thrown in front of a bus, and more than a couple of students were injured.
The blockade was lifted when the deputy proctor finally came out and talked to the protesters, telling them that some action will be taken within two days. The protest continued all night in front of the Arts Faculty.
However, the students were not given any written confirmation by the administration. They were told that it is not possible, since the timing was outside office hours. The activists have called for another protest on Wednesday, October 10, against the behaviour of the administration, and the police violence. “This time, it’s during office hours,” said Kalita.
First published in Newsclick.
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