The students of the College of Engineering Trivandrum (CET) were taken by surprise when they noticed an unexpected sight when they headed towards the bus stop outside their campus. What was supposed to be a long steel bench at the bus stop, now had three single seats. CET students believe that it is a case of moral policing.
The bus stop is a common meeting place for the students of CET. When they saw that the steel bench was no longer a space for students to sit comfortably, they immediately understood the underlying cause for the modification. Students have faced verbal moral policing by locals and bus officials for mingling with each other, specifically when male and female students interact. Angered by this, locals seem to have decided to chop the bench to teach the students a ‘lesson’.
The students, however, weren’t really perturbed by the incident since they knew who was responsible for it. The rampant rise of moral policing in and around the CET campus has always been an unresolved issue. This incident is evidence of it.
A student of CET, Amith Kollathodi, took to Twitter and shared the incident. It soon got people talking about the horrible state of moral policing on campus, as well as, generally in Kerala.
In an attempt to rise against this blatant form of moral policing, a group of second-year CET students decided to stage a protest. Male and female students sat on each other’s laps and clicked pictures. When these photos were shared with their peers, various groups of friends decided to join the protest by clicking pictures to express their solidarity. This small act of togetherness created a conversation which has gone viral on social media.
A couple of years ago, students of CET launched a three-month Azadi movement to protest against the night curfew in women’s hostels. Hostellers came out at night to fight gender-based restrictions by college authorities. As a result of their protest, the Government was forced to relax the timing from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM.