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DU hostel or juvenile home?

As if frisking the students and banning mobile phones and laptops was not enough, the hostel rooms at DU's Daulat Ram College have no latches, so that the warden can conduct surprise checks at all hours

In the times when concepts such as freedom and liberty have become the hallmarks of university education, especially in the metros, a women's hostel in Delhi University's north campus is all set to take us back to the stone-age. In Daulat Ram College, not only the students are frisked physically every time they enter the hostel, but in a bizarre move, a surprise check was conducted and all laptops and mobile phones were confiscated on Saturday morning here.


Girls interrupted: Daulat Ram College at north campus in Delhi
University. Pic/MiD DAY


The students are also fed up of warden Sushma Tandon's behaviour towards them. On Saturday evening, they finally assembled outside the hostel gate and protested till late in the night. They claimed that in addition to the other moves, latches in all the rooms have been removed and the warden checks the rooms frequently at odd hours, disrupting their privacy.

As part of the protest, the students did not return to their rooms till late in the evening. One of the protesters said, "We feel harassed by the way the hostel warden deals with us. We are frisked physically to check if we are hiding mobile phones."

Reason behind protest
In a similar surprise check by the warden on Saturday, all the mobile phones and laptops were confiscated and put in the warden's office, following which the students decided to agitate. The acting principal and the hostel warden, in a meeting with the deputy proctor on Sunday, refused to budge from her stand saying it was mentioned in the college information bulletin that mobile phones will not be allowed inside the hostel. She said the undertaking had been signed by all the parents.

One of the hostel residents, Akriti Khanna (name changed), said, "This is unjustifiable. Our rooms are not provided with latches, all our mess workers are men and anyone can barge in anytime. We don't have even the required measures of privacy. The entire environment is depressing. We can't even study this way. We are adults, not some jailed juveniles to be treated this way."

Students also argued that they needed laptops for research, projects and assignments. "How can a college not allow the use of laptops in the hostel? This is insane. We need them for our studies and projects. Where will we go for our work?" rued Suniti Sinha (name changed), another student.

Deputy proctor Mohammad Kazim said, "There is no point in banning the electronic devices. I have sorted the matter with the college staff and they have agreed to not do any frisking or surprise checks till further notice. They have also conveyed to the students that they will not be disturbed during the examinations, which are about to begin."   The hostel warden, Sushma Tandon, could not be reached despite repeated attempts by MiD DAY.

Varsity's stand
Panning the college rules, proctor H P Singh said, "It is very strange that they do not allow phones. This doesn't happen in other hostels. They are young adults and should be dealt with that way. Besides, we encourage the use of laptops in the university and mobiles are a requirement. I have spoken to the college heads. They must rectify the issue immediately."    

Supporting the students' case half-heartedly, Students Welfare Deputy Dean G S Tuteja said, "I must say the use of mobile phones and specific websites should be restricted, but not banned. There is no point in bodily frisking the students. They must complain to the proctor and we will initiate an action regarding the matter."

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