The students of St Francis College for Women in Hyderabad on Monday held a protest against the dress code diktat that was imposed on Friday. Reports said the circular was withdrawn after the protests.
The circular — stating that only students wearing 'kurtas below knee length with sleeves' would be allowed on campus, while shorts, sleeveless tops or other similar dresses were banned — was met with criticism from the student community.
On Monday morning, at least 150 students holding placards protested outside the campus. The entire lane leading to the gates of the college was blocked.
The principal said that the authorities were open to a meeting at 10.30 am with two to three representatives of the protesters. However, this was rejected by the students as the demands put forth by them also stated that the principal should come at the gate and address everyone publicly, and not behind closed doors.
On Saturday and Sunday, a video that went viral on social media, showed several women being denied entry into the college after the length of their kurtis was an inch above their knee. The security was also shown tugging at their clothes.
When asked for a reason, the students were told that the rules were being enforced so that the students "could get good marriage proposals" and also because "the male staff is uncomfortable" looking at the shape of their thighs. This is taking into notice that there are only about 20 male faculty members in the all-girls college.
#Hyderabad-More than100 students are protesting at the St. #Francis College in Hyd, against Moral Policing. Students tell me- they have been asked to wear ‘long kurtas’ to ‘not distract male faculty’ and ‘for better marriage proposals.’ ‘No negotiations’ -say students #Telangana pic.twitter.com/OVm9tB8oem
— Rishika Sadam (@RishikaSadam) September 16, 2019
Several students also claimed that there was an internal notice that was sent over a Whatsapp group in July, which said that students were supposed to wear only kurtis in college, else they will not be permitted inside.
Talking to News18, alumni said that these rules have been there since 2016 and even before that, however, it wasn't such a huge issue back then, and the notices weren't taken so seriously.
St Francis College in Begumpet is one of the oldest colleges in the city, and a reputed one at that. The private autonomous college is known to have stringent laws about dress codes and offers graduation and post-graduation courses as a part of its curriculum. Several students have also claimed that it talks about women empowerment and feminism but fails to comply with the same.
The students also tried to negotiate with the officials and management, only to be sent back without an answer.
The protest demanding the withdrawal of restrictions has garnered attention from several activists. There is also a police force deployed at the scene to help control the situation.
Ramya, an undergraduate student at the college, was quoted by The News Minute, as saying, "The first three days they allowed us to go in. They just shouted at us saying 'what is this', chased us and pulled us back, but they didn't stop us from going in. But on Friday, they started to stop because apparently they had given a warning."
"People are getting angrier by the minute. We didn't want anyone to touch us. Now, the management is okay with these people behaving with us the way they are. And they believe it's okay because it's a woman and not a male security guard, so they can do that," Ramya said.
Instagram user Veena Malik (@awkward_malik) posted a video of the same, and several people shared it to show the moral policing taking place in the college.
Updated Date: Sep 16, 2019 13:04:19 IST