Hyderabad: In a major victory for students of St Francis College, who were staging a protest against what they termed ‘moral policing’ in the form of a rule asking them to wear kurtis of knee length or longer, the college has withdrawn the controversial rule.
The college was allegedly implementing the rule from August 1, with the students being reportedly threatened of suspension if they violated the rule. However, the students were up against the new dress code, saying it was not aimed at bringing any uniformity among students, but that it was a result of a “regressive patriarchal mindset”.
Videos surfaced on Friday showing the college staff scanning the students and allowing only girls who adhered to the rule on the campus.
“I was made to stand for two hours with my parents and we were told my kurti length was one inch less and if we don’t follow the rule, we would be suspended. They also said we won’t get good marriage proposals! This protest is not for the change of dress code, it is for the change of their mindset,” one of the students said.
“I think we are much disciplined than the other colleges. We are in a girl’s college and we know how to behave. So I don’t think there’s any need to discipline us. To us, it feels like humiliation,” Mallika, a third year student, said.
The situation had turned tense on Monday morning, with more than 150 students staging a protest against the dress code, and said the inspection they had to go through before entering the campus was nothing short of harassment and humiliation. Holding placards against the rule, they shouted slogans demanding justice. The situation prompted the Punjagutta police to rush to the spot, with policewomen trying to pacify the students.
Later, the principal and other college authorities held a meeting with representatives of the protesting students, after which it was announced that the rule was withdrawn, triggering celebrations among the agitating students.