PUNE — A photograph of a document titled 'Special Instructions For Girls' at the Sri Sai Ram Engineering College in Chennai has been making the rounds of social media since Monday morning and in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session a former student, who compared the institute to a jail, said he's experienced all of the demanding things mentioned in the document.
The list has some rather extreme restrictions — women aren't allowed to bring chocolates inside the campus in large quantities, not allowed to have Facebook and WhatsApp accounts, talk to "boys" or wear large earrings and high heels. They cannot celebrate birthdays on campus and wear churidaars with the dupatta tightly pinned on both sides.
Sri Sai Ram Engineering college instructions for girls. #Chennai
No breathing blah blah blah pic.twitter.com/rHzIilpclM— Shiva Malyala (@shivakumarshv) September 21, 2015
The document has naturally stirred up social media users, with angry tweeps claiming that the set of instructions is regressive at a time when women are shattering traditional notions of patriarchy in every field of work and it goes against their self-expression.
The matter came to a head when in the AMA, the user sairam_alumni claimed that things were even worse than they seemed from the purported list.
"The college had PC's with restricted access to the internet which could be used during specific hours of the day," sairam_alumni, supposedly a former student of the college, alleged.
He was asked the most colourful questions by participants.
The anger on Twitter about the seemingly impossible restrictions put on students was understandable.
Dishearteningly easy to believe. Even colleges like VIT have (at least when I was there) gems of rules like these. https://t.co/5D7s7j32xr— Nandita Jayaraj (@nandita_j) September 21, 2015
But when HuffPost India contacted the Sri Sai Ram Engineering College, K Maran, a professor of accounting at the institute who said he handled media queries on behalf of the institute, said he was aware of such a photo and was outraged. "Somebody has copy-pasted our college's name on some random list of restrictions," he said, fuming. "We are planning to take action against whoever has started this prank," he added.
The college dismissed the list as fake.
When we cross-checked it with the "General Rules - Students" document uploaded on the college's official website, we found two rules that were somewhat similar to the ones listed in the purportedly fake document:
- Cellphone, Walkman and other musical instruments are strictly prohibited while travelling in the bus and inside the campus. Violation of this will ensure strict and immediate disciplinary action (sic).
- Girls should wear only churidhars with dupatta both sides pinned up. Wearing half-sarees, middies, short sleeve tops, tight pants and jeans are strictly prohibited inside the campus (sic).
Maran also explained that the "fake document is hurting their reputation", for Sri Sai Ram Engineering College is "one of the top ten colleges in Tamil Nadu".
"We are definitely going to find the culprit," he added.