06/08/2016 8:59 AM IST | Updated 06/08/2016 9:05 AM IST

After College Temporarily Bans Shorts, India's Youngest Woman Sarpanch Says 'Focus On Studies Instead'


A woman carries a placard as she takes part with others in a demonstration in Mumbai, 21 May 2005 against 'moral policing'.
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A woman carries a placard as she takes part with others in a demonstration in Mumbai, 21 May 2005 against 'moral policing'.

Women students of the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology have been protesting against a ban on miniskirts, nightgowns and shorts on campus, a diktat the administration was forced to drop after mass protests. Students have also complained that there is a deadline of 9:30 pm for women returning to the college hostel, while there are no such restrictions for men.

"We have college from 9 am to 5 pm, we go for coaching directly from there. Coaching class ends late, we get so tired. We are forced to sleep in lobby area if we don't make it by 9:30 pm," a student told ANI.

However, India's youngest female sarpanch, Bhakti Sharma, had this to say about the ongoing protests:

"Saying that we are in 21st century and we be allowed to wear any dress is wrong. Even in countries like America there are lots of restrictions. Even the management there should understand and discuss about dress code with the students. We cannot forcibly impose anything on youth today.

"Some girls wear short skirts, college should decide on days for coloured clothing. Even the girls should understand that their parents spent a lot on their education, so it is better if we are going to college then we focus on studies. After 22 years you can wear whatever you want."

Women students in Bhopal raised slogans and staged protests over the dress code on Friday.

Women's rights activist Annie Raja, who is also the National Federation of Indian Women general secretary, said there is no correlation between the dressing of women and atrocities against them.

"The institute and its management is the running away from the responsibility of preventing crime against women. They think that if girls wear salwar kameez and dupatta then every crime against women can be prevented. We have seen all over the country that there is no correlation between the dress and the sexual atrocities against women," she told ANI.

"It is escapism on part of the management. It is intervention in personal freedom. The students there are all above 18 years and they have freedom to choose their dress," she added.