College campus curfews in New Delhi are the latest in a series of measures in India, aimed at increasing women’s safety and curbing the rise of sexual assault, to come under fire. More than 1,800 rapes were reported in New Delhi last year, earning it the unfortunate epithet of “India’s rape capital.” Students aren’t happy with the “unreasonable curfew times”, however, and are arguing that this is also an invasion of privacy, restricting their freedom and mobility. They have started protesting the curfews with a late-night march, a public hearing, signature campaigns, online petitions and classroom discussions. “The city will become safe not by having less women in public spaces after dark, but by having more women. When will they get it?” Utsa Sarmin, a 21-year-old political science graduate student, asked the Washington Post. Nilanjana Paul, a college freshman in New Delhi who participated in one of the student marches echoed that sentiment, saying: “If we ask to go out, they say, ‘You are asking for too much freedom.’ They threaten to call our parents to tell them, ‘Your daughter is going astray, she wants to roam around at night.’” University authorities defended the measures by saying that most parents want these curfews, and they would hold the universities responsible if something happened.
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