Disowning barriers is an initiative taken by the female residents of the girl’s hostel in Mumbai University’s Kalina campus against the repressive hostel regulations.
The students of Mumbai University have declared an indefinite hunger strike starting from March 7, 2017, against the patriarchal and sexist regulation that restricts the movement of female residents of campus after 11:00 PM and is endowed exclusively on the girl’s hostel. The decision of strike followed the authorities turned a blind eye towards the repeated demands of female residents of allowing the access to the newly commenced 24x 7 library facility, which is working only for the male residents. The administration has, however, denied the access citing security amongst other patriarchal reasons as rationale.
The rule for the access of 24×7 library came into force following ABVP’s protest of January 9, 2017. We received a letter dated January 10, 2017 directed to Rohit Chandode, the general secretary of ABVP signed and stamped by Dr. MA Khan, Registrar, Mumbai University assuring that the facility will begin after January 16, 2017. However, the time limitation of 11:00 PM for girl’s hostel was restricting our use of the facility. This led to a protest demanding the use of the library after 11:00 PM for the girls as well.
The protest which took place from February 3, 2017 to February 4, 2017 ended abruptly after the ABVP decided on accepting the settlement extended by Dr. Anil Patil, Director of the BCUD, even when participants from girl’s hostel refused to accept the terms. The alternate recommendation made by the administration included the term of formation of a committee comprising of members from parents association, for deciding if the female students should be allowed to use the facility post hostel timings or not.
The residents of the girl’s hostel declined acceptance as the terms suggested are extremely biased, insensitive and discriminatory in nature and demonstrates the misogynist mindset of the authorities. In this concern, we have submitted a letter of non-acceptance to the Vice Chancellor, University of Mumbai and to Dr Anil Patil, Director of BCUD along with an attachment of over 103 signatures from the three girl’s hostel. One letter has also been addressed to the General Secretary of ABVP.
In last two months, we have repeatedly faced oppression due to our gender. We have therefore, decided on taking our struggle forward and fighting for freedom of movement across campus and outside at all hours. We have also approached the Women Development Cell of the University of Mumbai for the same. We have forwarded the letter of request with an ultimatum of one week for accepting our demands to the Prime Minister, Governor, Chief Minister, State Education Minister and Vice Chancellor. In case, they fail to comply with our demands we will sit on an indefinite hunger strike starting on March 7, 2017.
We need your support concerning the same. We hope your union will stand in solidarity in our struggle for our rights. We will appreciate the help and support. The plan of action is as follows:
- March 6, 2017- A Protest March demanding our rights will be taken across the campus at 12:00 PM
- March 7, 2017- Indefinite hunger strike begins at 10:00 AM outside the campus main gate.
- A cultural program for gender sensitization commencing from 8:00 PM.
- March 8, 2017- Indefinite hunger strike completes its 24 hours and continues if the demands are not met. The day is of symbolic importance as it coincides with the International Women’s Day. We need maximum solidarity on the day.