Students from a Chhattisgarh law school are fighting against patriarchy & sexual harassment

 

As the silent protest of Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU), Naya Raipur entered the seventh day on Sunday, they warned the Vice Chancellor of observing hunger strike if their demands are not met by September 5.

“We have set 5 pm on 5th as deadline for the university administration to resolve our issues or else we will observe hunger strike,” students told this newspaper on Sunday.
Meanwhile, HNLU students body has received support from various national law universities apart from the students union of JNU Delhi and Jadhavpur University, said the students. The JNU president has written a letter to the HNLU student body extending the support, said a student of the HNLU.

 

 

 

The students of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur have been protesting since August 28 against the faculty of the university. On the night of August 27, students of the ) in Raipur, Chhattisgarh gathered together to protest against their college administration. Earlier that day, the Chattisgarh High Court had ruled against the former Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Sukhpal Singh, quashing the extension of his tenure. Following the high court ruling, students assembled outside their college in protest, demanding the VC’s immediate removal.

The protest began with a mere stand-off between the women hostellers and their hostel wardens. The girls refused to move back to their individual rooms until and unless the wardens agreed to not use ‘show-cause’ as a threat. Prior to this, the students had claimed that they were harassed by wardens who threatened girls with show cause notices. The wardens also made calls to their parents, making false cases to curb the freedom of the girls on campus.

Without any concrete solution, the girls marched out of the hostel buildings and refused to come inside, thus defying the curfew imposed on them. They were joined by the male students and it grew into an all-campus protest to demand action against the corrupt university administration.

The demands of the student body that have been put forward in front of the administration are:

  1. Removal of hostel in-timings and restricting curfew timing to the campus, implemented equitably for both halls of residence
  2. Appointment of an independent warden who is not an academic representation, teacher or in any manner associated either directly, indirectly or incidentally with academic activities or programmes or any such similar tasks or in charge of any responsibilities or duties of similar nature
  3. Removal of restrictions inside the hostel including, but not limited to, gym, mess space, common rooms etc

The students have formed their own committee, collecting evidence on sexual harassment by faculty, many of whom are on the administration. They will submit their own report to the Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court.

The Student Body has set up a complaints committee where each victim has been asked to speak out about their stories of harassment. The committee urges not just women, but men to email instances of harassment whether sexual or otherwise. Those willing to come forward have been asked to email their stories with proof to [email protected].

Despite the nearly week-long protest, no action has been taken by the authorities.

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