College tenders apology, National Bravery Award winner demands action

Mumbai: Bowing down before the sharp criticism on the pledge of not falling in love or opting for love marriage, Mahila Kala Vanijya Vidyalaya has tendered an apology. Many people, including last year's National Bravery Award winner Zen Sadavarte, have demanded action against this school.

The girls studying in the first and second year Bachelors of Arts (BA) in the college at Chandur, Amaravati, were made to take a pledge to not 'indulge in love affairs or love marriage on February 13 at an NSS camp. After media reports, the college was criticised by all, including women leaders and activists. The college is run by the Vidarbha Youth Welfare Society, Amaravati.

"This pledge has hurt many people's feelings and raised the issue of personal freedom. We apologise all those who have been hurt or who consider this pledge as an attack on personal freedom," said Rajendra Haware, principal of the college. He issued a statement of apology.

Defending the intention behind the pledge, the college said that it was against immature love. "We have found that boys take advantage of girls, especially when they are immaturity. This has led to many unpleasant or sad repercussions. Therefore,we asked girls to first focus on their studies and career and then take a call on these issues. They should discuss such things with their parents. Parents are best suited to take a decision on the issue of marriage. This was our view point while administering the pledge," he stated.

Brave girl wants action on college

Zen Sadavarte, the 12-year-old girl, who had earlier raised the issue of the death of an infant in the Shaheen Bagh protests, which the Supreme Court took cognisance, has now written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Director General of Police Maharashtra seeking their urgent intervention in this matter.

Among other things, Zen has demanded that a first information report be lodged against the management and the teachers of the college. "This is clearly inspired by 'Manusmriti' and amounts to gender discrimination under IPC Section 294 and IT Act Section 67-A, and an appropriate complaint must be filed against the concerned college and teacher/s," Zen said.

Maharashtra's Women and Child Welfare Minister Yashomati Thakur's response was equally surprising when she commented that the oath was not binding on anyone and felt it must have been in the context of the recent burning of a woman lecturer in the adjoining Wardha by a jilted suitor.

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