Thiruvananthapuram: A night-long agitation has brought the management of College of Engineering Trivandrum (CET) to their knees – the ladies hostel will not be closed at 6.30 pm from now. Girls can spend their evenings outside until 9.30 pm as the boys. The principal made the declaration following a huge protest.
Girls protested on Wednesday night in the college portico asking for parity with boys on hostel timings. A request forwarded to college authorities last week had yielded no effect. Protests gained momentum after about a hundred students were denied entry when they turned up around 9 pm.
They declined a request to offer explanation in writing. Other students at the hostel joined them. Students did not budge even when police tried for reconciliation. Only one PTA member reached the college during the protest.
The students protested in front of the college until noon the next day. A meeting with the principal in the morning failed to find a solution. The management finally gave in after a meeting with the vice-chancellor.
The decision was welcomed with loud cheers. Celebrations in the campus continued well into the night. Protesters claim they will continue to agitate until even the 9.30 restriction is lifted. A similar protest in 2015 named ‘break the curfew’ had gathered momentum with support from political and social spheres. But it fizzled out without any result.
Clock laid to rest
The 6.30 deadline was laid to rest symbolically on Thursday night as students made a tombstone and laid wreath. Hired percussionists added tempo to celebrations well into the night.
Former students hailed the victory and claimed their protests in 2015 had a catalyst effect. ‘Break the curfew’ was well received in other campuses in state. This time, a Facebook page ‘ Azadi’ (Freedom) was created to coordinate protests.
Police’s intervention had little effect on protesters. When no one from the management came to address them, students chose to sleep in college corridors. They freshened up in hostel early morning and continued the stir. A message on their resolve was later posted on the Facebook page. Several requests citing inability to use library, computer lab and internet cafes because of the early deadline were turned down earlier.