Published: 16th January 2020
Not in our name: IIT-M women students to rally against shutting of Krishna gate for 'security reasons'
The students in a letter have listed out various other ways that the administration can ensure their safety and stated that closing down of the gate was definitely not one of them
The women students of IIT Madras will be taking out a rally against the administration's decision to close down Krishna Gate on December 24. Two weeks ago, the IIT Madras administration claimed that they are shutting the gate in order to 'protect' the female students residing on campus. Ironically though, the female students have said that shutting down the gate has only inconvenienced them.
The students, in a statement, have listed out various other ways that the administration can ensure their safety and stated that closing down of the gate was definitely not one of them. In a statement titled 'The Wall Must Fall', the students have listed seven ways in which the administration can improve their safety measures on campus. They have said that the responsibility of women's safety lies in the hands of the security force on campus and that the gate cannot simply be closed because "criminals exist" and the institute was failing to protect the students.
"Access to the outside is important for the safety of women living right outside but near the gate, some of whom are young mothers. It is also necessary for frequent needs like photocopying, binding, printing, photo studio and other needs," they pointed out. They also question the administration as to why if, in fact, they were safe inside their hostels were they not being allowed to move from one hostel to another after 9 pm.
The students, in their statement, also pointed to women project staff members who were allegedly being housed in make-shift dormitories, "These inhuman makeshift rooms are being carved out of common rooms. It affects both mental health and hygiene because there aren't enough toilets available to those living there," they claimed.
The students have also made the accusation that some members of the security force had posed more of a threat of harassment than people from outside the campus. "We demand an explicit redressal cell mechanism to deal with that, external of the Chief Security Officer", the said. Another point that the students made in their statement are that if decisions regarding women are being taken, then women should be consulted for the same. "Closing the gate at 12 am on December 25 was undemocratic, hence we demand its reopening and a discussion on the matter," they stated.
The students are carrying out the rally on January 16 - 'Not in Our Name' is the tagline on their posters. The students have also written to the MHRD about the issue and are inviting others to participate in this rally that will start from Krishna Gate and end at the admin block. Ever since the gate was shut, the students have been protesting, MPs have also visited the campus and submitted a petition and promised to speak to the MHRD. The residents outside the gate are also calling this new wall 'the untouchability' wall as it would potentially block out campus access to people living in the area.