The expulsion of four women students from a college in Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam district after video footage of them drinking beer outside the campus went viral has sparked a debate about the rights and wrongs of the issue. DC talks to a cross-section of people
A video recording of a group of young people, including four women students of the DharmapuramAdhinam Arts College in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam District, drinking beer triggered the college management to suspend the students, sparking mixed reactions from the public. The occasion was reportedly the birthday of one of the four women. They were celebrating along with two male relatives of the birthday girl in a village 10 km away from the college. One of the young men shot the video and uploaded it on Facebook with the caption 'The state of women'. It was allegedly done without the women's consent.
The video, which went viral, came to the attention of the college management, and on December 24th, they took action against the students, three of whom were in college uniform on the day in question. All the four women are above 18. It is worth noting that the legal age for drinking in Tamil Nadu is 21 years.
Netizens have reacted in different ways to the episode. Some have questioned the morality of the girls while others question the action of the college. One Twitter user says "If the college has such rules then they are obliged to follow it for all genders."On the other hand, another user feels "The administration has done a good move to teach discipline and high moral standards."
Chennai-based lawyer and social activist Sudha Ramalingam says, "Drinking is injurious to health for both men and women. Male students indulging in drinking is accepted as a natural instinct. Here, the issue has been blown out of proportion because female students consumed alcohol. It happened outside the campus and has nothing to do with academics." She feels both sexes need to be treated equally.
Divya, who works with Bhumi, an NGO, says, "The boys have done wrong in uploading the videos without the girls' consent."
Kavitha Kodhandaraman, a social activist, says, "Since the incident didn't occur in the premises of the college, it makes no sense for college authorities to take such severe action against the students. However, if that's the rule, then it must be applied tothe male students as well."