Most of are so used to the idea of locking up and silencing women and girls that we don’t even notice that it doesn’t help anybody – not the girls, not the crime rate, not the skewed gender ratio, not the general disrespect for the lives, happiness, freedom and rights of women – which is what leads to all the rest of the problems.
We don’t even acknowledge that we still have the highest rate of crimes against women, because obviously locking up women doesn’t work. It only conveys that they and their rights are less valued than those who are assaulting them.
What we are conveying is that the boys who are feared are all powerful, uncontrollable criminals, or maybe that the crime of ‘creating nuisance’ is not big enough to be taken seriously and controlled.
Also that locking up of students (only if they are female students) is not a serious encroaching on their rights. It also conveys to the entire society (including, to the boys), that women’s freedom, recreation, voices, wishes and rights are not as important.
Also, are we trying to say, that those who are feared (the male students) are actually permitted to ‘create a nuisance’ if the girls are out? Was an effort made to talk to the boys about the university’s fears?
Shouldn’t a clear message be given to the boys that ‘creating nuisance’ would not be tolerated? That anybody encroaching on the rights,safety and freedoms of other equal citizens would no go to jail?
Are we saying that we have no way to ensure law and order? Or is it not big enough an issue and it is easier to lock up those who matter the least?
Ofcourse, most of us can’t imagine restricting the freedom of those we fear could create a nuisance. In fact all they needed to do was let the male students know that any ‘nuisance’ could lead to serious consequences and they could also get some security. Maybe let the male students pay for it, since they are the ones who need help (with being controlled)?
It also seems that the Punjabi University believes that boys lose control only on certain days – did they wonder why that happens? Have the boys been given some special licenses on these days? If yes, then maybe the license needs to be withdrawn by those who grant it? By locking up the girls the university is clearly acknowledging that it believes that the male students are out of control on certain days, but is still taking no action against them.
If nothing else worked, if the university was sure that the boys could be neither trusted enough, nor controlled, to respect the rights of the girl students, then the delegation asked a very relevant question:
Why they don’t close entrances of all boys’ hostels and let girls play Holi inside the campus?
Ofcourse it’s also possible that the University was only trying to prevent interactions between ‘the opposite sexes’, because, like many other educational institutes in India, they too believe that Love Marriages spoil the Family System of our Nation.
(Link shared by Anil Singhal)
…a delegation of students had met senior varsity officials before Holi, requesting them that such a closure on the festival day was an assault on democratic rights of girls. “However, senior functionaries of the university responded that the tradition of locking girls inside the hostels during Holi was not new and had been going on since the past 40 years. Authorities refused to deliberate on our demand and even threatened strict action if any student violated the orders,” said Sarvir, who is also vice-president of Democratic Students Organization’s (DSO) university unit.
“If authorities foresee nuisance on such occasions then why can’t it be the other way round? Why they don’t close entrances of all boys’ hostels and let girls play Holi inside the campus? This is feudal mindset and intolerable in places like a university campus where girl students are mature enough to differentiate between right and wrong,” she argued.
“Hostels were closed keeping in mind security of girl students and to prevent any kind of nuisance on the campus. Misbehaviour with girls could have led to quarrels and clashes,”