Kanupriya: Even the elite participated in protest against patriarchy

Updated: Dec 30, 2018, 08:13 IST | Prutha Bhosle

On September 6, 2018, Kanupriya won the Panjab University Campus Students' Council (PUCSC) elections by registering 2,802 votes in her favour

Kanupriya: Even the elite participated in protest against patriarchy

Kanupriya
Chandigarh
The first woman president of the Panjab University Campus Students' Council, campaigned successfully to lift girls' hostel curfew
As she juggles between crucial decisions that will be etched in Panjab University's history, one gets the impression that the varsity students' council president wants to cut short the interview. However, tired but jubilant, Kanupriya, known to talk tough when it comes to protecting students' rights, ensures that she gives out detailed information on her significant political journey.

On September 6, 2018, the 22-year-old won the Panjab University Campus Students' Council (PUCSC) elections by registering 2,802 votes in her favour. And, within days of her appointment, the MSc zoology student started a massive agitation, demanding 24x7 hostel entry for girls, what she calls "azadi from patriarchy". "While female students were penalised for exiting or entering campus after 9 pm, male students always got a free pass. It was ridiculous. Our first step was to get this issue addressed."

Interestingly, she adds, several female students who generally refrain from voicing their opinions joined the initiative. "Usually, the ones from rich families don't participate in protests or take a stand against injustice. But I noticed a great change on campus. Over hundreds came out in support of this and finally on October 31, 2018, the senate agreed to keep the gates open for us."

The campaign got support from Pinjra Tod - an autonomous collective effort to ensure secure accommodation for women students across Delhi. When asked the next issue on her list, Kanupriya points out loopholes in the Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment. "Cases of sexual harassment have come to light in the past. However, the committee does not deal with the issue effectively. It has always made the victim feel at fault. This is why we have demanded that a students' representative accompany the victim [during hearings]. This is something we have taken up on priority."

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