The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dress diktat awaits girls

Mumbai, June 22: What Bal Thackeray thought yesterday, Mumbai University thinks today.

Months after the Shiv Sena crowed that women who dress provocatively should be ready to get raped ' that, too, after a drunk constable violated a girl at the Marine Drive police post in April ' Mumbai University has floated a proposal to impose a stringent dress code on college campuses.

“Students are crossing the limits of decency. After the Marine Drive rape case, we think scantily clothed students could be one of the reasons that such incidents happen,” Mumbai University vice-chancellor Vijay Khole said today in a move that is certain to stoke a raging row.

So it might be goodbye low-waist jeans, skimpy skirts, sleeveless tops and navel-exposing tees for PYTs if Khole manages to get his way in a meeting with college principals in the first week of July.

Not all college principals are one with Khole at the moment, though. Some are likely to oppose the proposal if it is tabled at the annual meeting to discuss the 2005-06 curriculum before colleges reopen.

“We have not received any official communication from the university so far. But I do not feel the need for a dress code in my college. I don’t think dressing is a problem at all,” Prof. R.T. Sane, principal of Ramnarain Ruia College, said.

Vice-principal P.P. Kulkarni of Ruparel College, the most sought after institution among students, was more middle-of-the-road. “At Ruparel, most of the students are middle class and we have never felt the need for a dress code.

“Our students are not the types who will prefer designer dresses. But it is possible that some South Mumbai colleges do feel the need.”

But principal Tayade of Sydenham College was against the plan. “A dress code is fine in school but to impose a code for college students is not right. We do not feel the need to impose a dress code but we insist students should be decently dressed.”

Swara Rane, a JJ School of Arts student, said: “An incident like the Marine Drive rape did not happen because the victim was dressed provocatively. Rapes have more to do with the male attitude towards women. I am sure students will oppose something like this.”

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