Kerala professor’s sexist remark on students triggers ‘watermelon protests’ in Kozhikode; here’s the full story

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New Delhi | Updated: March 21, 2018 2:46 PM

A sexist remark by a professor at a teachers' training college in Kerala's Kozhikode has sparked a unique protest by the students at the institute.

A sexist remark by a professor at a teachers’ training college in Kerala’s Kozhikode has sparked a unique protest by the students at the institute. (Facebook/Diya Sana)

A sexist comment by a teachers’ training college professor in Kozhikode, Kerala has sparked a unique demonstration by the students at the varsity. The offensive comment by the teacher at the Farook Training College that Muslim girls were not wearing hijab properly instead they are “intentionally exposing their chests like ‘sliced watermelon'” has sparked extensive protests over alleged moral policing across the state by the students. The students have named the protest as ‘watermelon protest’.

In a unique form of protest, female students from across the state are posting photographs posing with watermelons to call out the professor over his remarks. Student organisations demonstrated outside Farook Training College, where Jouhar Munavvir T teaches, seeking action against him. The student bodies said that they will send watermelon slices to the teacher in a fashion similar to the ‘Pink Chaddi’ campaign.

Tensions in the college peaked after some women students who were supporting the teacher also took out a rally. Students in other colleges also took out a march carrying sliced watermelons and sought strict action against Munavvir. The march was blocked by police. KSU activists also registered their protest by distributing watermelon slices while ABVP workers smashed a watermelon in front of the college gate.
A video clip of the speech went viral on social media, soon after the clash between the staff members and students of Farook College.

The teacher had also criticized girl students for showing off the leggings they wear under their clothes. The teacher had said that 80 percent of students on the campus are girls and the majority is Muslims. He added that they wear purdah but hold it up exposing the leggings.

He further said that the women do not wear muftah anymore but cover their heads with shawls/scarfs instead. “Chest was one of the parts of a woman that attracts a man and Islam teaches that it should be covered,” the professor said, according to a Times of India report.

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