Published: 11th October 2021
Early curfew hours, fines up to Rs 500 for late entry: Why women hostellers of Punjab's Guru Nanak University are protesting
At the same time, Hardeep Singh, Dean of Academic Affairs denied any issues with the hostel timings. He declined to comment further
Girls hostel residents at the Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar are fighting for equal rights, demanding the hostels be kept open round the clock. While the women hostellers are asked to enter the hostel premises by 8 PM, they say that no such restriction exists for the men. What is even more shocking is that students who enter the hostels after the curfew hours are asked to pay a varying fine between Rs 50 and Rs 500, depending on how 'late' they are.
Students say that the girls are not allowed even in the library after 9:30 PM, unlike the boys. "There is another reading hall within our hostel but it has very limited capacity. Neither is it comfortable," said Jashanpreet Kaur, a student of MA History. At the same time, a circular was released on September 29 that pulled down the 9:30 pm hostel deadline and revised it to 7:30 pm.
As per the circular, girls entering the hostel between 8 pm to 9 pm will be charged Rs 50 and this would be doubled between 9 pm and 10 pm. But if it goes beyond 10 pm, they would have to pay Rs 500 to the authorities — entry would be barred if they fail to abide by the rules.
Kaur said, "We are constantly under pressure. There is no scope to be involved in any extra activity in the evening such as sports." She added that even accessing the library and the reading hall becomes a risky job. "If classes end at 5 pm, we rest for an hour and immediately go to the library at 6 pm because of our limited hostel timings."
"We were 60 girls who walked to the VC office on Thursday to talk to the authorities about it. But they only spoke to three of us, including me, and threatened to call our parents. Most of us are above 20 years old, everyone is above 18. We can speak for ourselves," Kajal, a hosteller and a student of MA political science at the varsity said.
There is now a piece of paper stuck on the hostel wall which says the timings have been changed to 9:30 but it bears no official signature, unlike the earlier one. Edexlive reached out to Hardeep Singh, Dean of Academic Affairs who said, "There is no issue, nothing is happening." Singh refused to comment further.
"The men's hostel has a deadline of 11 pm but nobody cares. It is almost like it is open for 24 hrs. Nobody has to pay any fine. There is nothing in the prospectus about it either," Vijay Kumar, President of GNDU Students for Society said. SFS has now given a call for a protest which will be held in the late hours of October 11. Among other things, the girls are also demanding an increase in security across the campus with more female guards than the males and the installation of street lights and floodlights.
The official prospectus of the varsity has a head — Special rules for girls hostel — which, apart from restrictions on timings, allows the female hostelers to meet their local guardians only on Sundays and other holidays, that too with the prior permission of the Warden.