An education institute which proclaims to be a place of “self-development and empowerment of girls through modern, scientific and
and value-based education”, 68 girls were taken to the restroom from college and asked to removed their undies individually to prove they are not menstruating.
This horrifying incident allegedly took place at Shri Sahjanand Girls’ Institute (SSGI) in Bhuj after the hostel rector complained to the principal that some of the inmates had been violating their religious norms specifically for menstruating females.
No police complaint has been registered yet but in-charge vice-chancellor of Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kutch University has formed a committee to investigate the matter.
The college has about 1500 students in different undergraduate courses out of which 68 girls lives in hostel.
According to the sect’s norms, menstruating females are barred from entering the temple and kitchen. They are even forbidden from touching other students. However, the hostel administration reportedly complained to principal Rita Raninga that some girls who were having their periods not just mingled with other hostel inmates, but also entered the kitchen and ventured near the temple on the premises.
Durga*, one of the students who stay at the hostel as she comes from a remote village, said, “The hostel administration levelled this allegation and insulted us on Wednesday. On Thursday, when we were attending lectures, rector Anjaliben called the principal and complained about this. We were forced to leave our classrooms and queue up outside in the passage. The principal abused and insulted us, asking which of us were having our periods. Two of us who were menstruating stepped aside.
Despite this, we were all taken to the washroom. There, female teachers asked us to individually remove our undergarments so they could check if we were menstruating.”
Shakti*, another 19-year-old undergraduate, said, “We come from far-flung villages. The college campus houses a school that runs classes from Class 1to 12. They provide hostel facilities to the school students. The college does not have its own hostel. We live with the school kids in their hostel.”
She added, “The principal, hostel rector and the trustees harass us regularly over the issue of menstruation. We are punished for having periods. This happens even if we follow their religious rules. They made us remove our undergarments because they thought some of us were lying about not having periods, and mingling with the others against rules. But the humiliation meted out to us on Thursday was the last straw. When we protested against this, trustee Pravin Pindoria told us that we could take legal action if we wanted but we would have to first leave the hostel. He also forced the students to sign a letter saying nothing happened in college. But enough is enough.”
SSGI trustee P H Hirani said, “We run a charitable organisation and take a token fee. As the institute has a temple on campus, the girls have been instructed to follow the sect’s rules. However, what happened to the students is unfair. Action will be taken.”
As the news spread, KSKVKU in-charge V-C Dr Darshana Dholakiya immediately formed a fact-finding committee. She told Mirror, “We will take strict action against whoever is responsible for this kind of behaviour.”
On being asked why girls did file a police complaint students told that the administration had already called heir parent and manipulated and told in their defence that this was for the safety of our religion.