St Francis College students protest against dress code

Hyderabad: The simmering discontent in St Francis College in Begumpet for Women burst into open once again today with the management reportedly failing to withdraw the new dress code directive.

The students are protesting against the college administration’s new dress code that forces them to wear knee-length kurtis.

Over 500 students joined to agitate against the dress code rules that were implemented this year.

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According to a news agency report late in the evening, the management of St Francis College for Girls withdrew the new dress code following the intervention of Panjagutta Police Station officers.

The Punjagutta police intervened to bring the situation under control. Later, talks between student representatives and the college authorities resulted in the college management agreeing to withdraw the rule,” the agency said in a brief note.

The principal of St Francis College, Sister Sandra Horta, allegedly told the student representatives that she has to consult the management on the issue and asked them to resume classes. She said she cannot do anything on her own. She also refused to come out and address the swelling gathering of the students.

St Francis girls protest against restriction of wearing kurtas above knees

It is learnt that after today’s protest rally the management has agreed to hold a meeting and let the students know what it can do or cannot do.

According to students the administration also told them that they would  get ‘good marriage proposals’ if they wore kurtis. The management is being blasted on social media for making comments.  

Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, comedian Sapan Verma and Supriya, a well known RJ, and numerous local social activists have criticised the college’s dress code rule. “This is bloody ridiculous! This principal needs to be fired,” wrote the actor as she shared a video on Instagram.

The students had expected a turnout of around 150 in front of the college but the response was overwhelming. Students from some other colleges had also joined a protest rally.

Speaking to a B.Sc 2nd year student who does not want to be identified said, “We definitely want to speak to the administration. But the Principal asked us to go back to the classes.  She said she would not be able to do anything if did not back to the classes.  We’re demanding complete removal of the dress code.”

Another student says, “They asked the Class Representatives to call off the protest until they make a decision. The CRs refused. We’re continuing until they reach a decision,” she added.

A video which has been going viral on social media shows a group of girls at St Francis College in Hyderabad, waiting to enter the college. They’re allowed entry, one by one, picked out on the length of their kurta. Zanobia Tumbi, who graduated last year, took to social media to discuss the problem and called for a protest on September 16 against the college administration’s ‘bizarre’ one-inch-below-knee rule.

Speaking to media, Zanobia who is now pursuing her Master’s at the University of Greenwich said, “Sister Sandra announced new dress code in the middle of the year… They told the representatives that standing up for a cause is profane, raising your voice is profane.  If the students do not raise their voice against injustice who will? And what is profane about protesting?”  Zanobia asked.

She said in the past, “When I was in college they would occasionally come to the gate to check how the girls are dressed.  Once in a while, they would make us miss a class or two. But they never sent us back home just because we were dressed ‘inappropriately’.

Authored by Mohammed Hussain,

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