NEW DELHI: The prestigious Hindu College in the Capital will not admit students to its new girls’ hostel this year after protests engulfed the accommodation over high fees and rules such as a mandatory dress code.
The college administration ignored the students’ demand to revoke the “discriminatory” rules for those willing stay at the 200-seat hostel.
Instead, a circular issued by principal Anju Srivastava on Friday said: “There will be no admission to the girls’ hostel. Students who have taken the prospectus may return the same and get their prospectus fee refunded.”
The prospectus says students must dress according to the “normal norm of society” in the common areas of the college’s first hostel for girls.
It also mentions a “night curfew”, saying the students must be in by 8.30pm and mark her attendance in a register. They will not be allowed to watch TV in the common room beyond 10.30pm and cannot move around on the hostel premises after 11pm.
As a concession, the students will be allowed a night out till 10pm twice a month. But they cannot stay the whole night away more than once a month and for that they must submit a letter from their parents or guardians for the warden’s approval.
Besides the rules that the students described as bizarre, sexist and discriminatory, what triggered the protests was the high annual hostel fee — three times more than the boys pay. Hindu College boys pay Rs 47,000 as hostel fees while the girls were expected to shell out more than Rs 82,000.
Principal Srivastava had tried to justify the amount, saying the fees were high because the facility will be for girl students. The hostel was built along with the academic block at a cost of Rs 16.50 crore.
The clarification raised frayed tempers as more students joined the protest led by Pinjra Tod, a campaign to fight the discriminatory rules.
They warned on Sunday that their protest will continue despite the college deciding not to open the hostel this year. “We will keep a close watch on the Hindu administration and continue our protests to ensure that the exorbitant women’s hostel fee is revoked, and the regressive rules and regulations removed,” said a protester who didn’t wish to be named.
College teachers too have criticised the decision. “Instead of having a dialogue with the students, the governing body decided to take such a step. It was built with so much money collected through donations … they cannot lock it now,” a teacher said.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) had taken suo moto cognizance of the rules and issued a notice to the college. It asked the college to explain how the rules were set.