Published: 23rd April 2018
IIT-Madras students go on hugging spree outside admin office to protest moral policing
Students staged a stir in the most democratic way and a poster with #GiveHugToday and #AgainstMoralPolicing was also being shared on social media platforms
A group of IIT-Madras students held a 'Hug Day' spree on Monday in front of the office of the institute's Dean of Students to encourage students to hug each other — as a form of protesting against the moral policing incident that rocked the campus last week. They have also been collecting signatures for a petition that would be submitted to the dean. By hugging, they will be protesting the recent incident of moral policing on campus, in which a female student had been shamed by a staff member for hugging a male friend last week.
"We are a bunch of students who are fed up with being harassed by various people on campus, who are policing us, always spying to find whom we hang out with and how we get dressed or conduct ourselves. If you have been at the receiving end of such moral policing, do tell us what you have had to face. We will be attaching relevant stories of moral policing with the petition we are going to submit to the dean (anonymity of the respondent will be kept intact) regarding the issue," reads the petition form that has been widely circulated on the campus.
Petition to stop moral policing: IIT Madras students hold a protest against recent incident on campus
A poster with #GiveHugToday and #AgainstMoralPolicing was also being shared on social media platforms.
'Hug Day' against moral policing: IIT-Madras students protest by sharing hugs
A student, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that the response from the institute's administration to complaints of moral policing or harassment was pathetic and they had not taken any steps to curb it.
Sayanty Chatterjee, a PhD scholar in Film Studies from the Humanities department, who is a student at the institute said she was firstly appalled by the incident that took place last week on April 17.
Sayanty said, "It was simply shocking. We, students, thought our campus to be liberal, and that which provides a platform for debate on such issues, and encourages progressiveness. But we were wrong. The reluctance from the administration to do something about this is heartbreaking."
She added that she had spoken to the victim and supports her completely in her efforts to stand up against such incidents so that they do not take place again in the future.
Sayanty said "small steps make a big difference. This protest is one such step towards making a difference. It was completely peaceful and non-violent and its aim was to be affectionate towards the victims and make sure it doesn't happen to anyone in the future."