HNLU Raipur has denied claims of sexism alleged in an anonymous blog post, purportedly by a current student of the law school that went viral on social media.
The post titled “Of Curfew Timings And Showing Less Skin: Sexism In A National Law University”, which stated that it was published by a female HNLU student under the author alias “Campus Watch”, on Youth Ki Awaaz on Friday, alleged that HNLU’s current vice chancellor was “quite sexist”, and that women on campus were told to “hide their skin”, avoid drinking alcohol, and follow a stricter curfew than what was applicable to male students.
The post, which has had over 1500 shares, likes and comments on Facebook, alleged:
They blame women for the clothes that they wear in the college functions by regularly asking senior batch students to convene ‘friendly sessions’. In these sessions, we are told to hide our skin so that it doesn’t attract a lot of attention or doesn’t tarnish the image of the university.
HNLU vice chancellor Prof Sukh Pal Singh, who was not aware of the post this morning when we called him, commented later in the day after reading the post: “It doesn’t seem to be a letter written by any of the law abiding students of my university because we never impose things which are not proper. We guide them to be good students.”
He added: “Whatever is being said in that letter is not correct and this is an anonymous letter so it carries no weight. Whatever things have been said in this letter in the name of vice chancellor are absolutely wrong.
“I have never uttered these words for the female students, rather I have not met the students for the last 4-5 months, because I had undergone heart surgery in the first week of October. Since then I was on leave for two and a half months. Thereafter I did not meet students at all because I was coming to office only for one shift whereas students are in the classroom so whatever has been said in my name is not correct.”
Singh said: “I don’t know why students have written it if at all they have written it. Because my students never behave in this manner, they are disciplined students. We always take action as per university rules. I don’t think that letter has been written by some student who is really within the policy of the university, and if anyone goes against rules of the university naturally he or she would be asked not to do these things and if out of that someone feels aggrieved then it is not proper.”
When we put some of the allegations in the post to Singh before he had read the post today morning, he told us that the curfew timings and dress codes, like all other rules, were “exactly the same” for both male and female students and that both sexes were given “equal liberty” by the authorities, within the precincts of maintaining “decency and discipline” on campus.
“And girls require more safety than the boys so sometimes we may say that they must take care that they’re not outside campus till late,” he remarked.
Singh told us that the entry to the hostel gates closed at 1030pm for both male and female students, which is why the library and the main campus gates closed at 10pm, the last university buses returned to campus at 930pm, and students entering campus after 10pm were asked to provide an explanation for the delay.
The post had alleged that in practice male students were allowed to leave hostels after the curfew:
There is a gate in the premises which shuts after 6:30 p.m. for girls and functions till 2 a.m. for the boys. We cannot step outside our hostels after 10:30 p.m., but it is just the women who are being questioned if they are late, and not the men. Our library isn’t open 24/7. “Kyunki raat mein gandi ghatnaayen hoti hain.
In June 2015 a named female student of NLU Delhi came out with many allegations of harassment and sexism faced by female students on the law school’s campus, and in April last year NLSIU students pressed for an apology by a professor who had allegedly made sexist remarks in the classroom.