Women students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have been denied permission to use its Maulana Azad Library. The Vice-Chancellor, Lt. Gen Zameer Uddin Shah has defended this discriminatory decision by stating, there would be “four times more boys” in the library if girls are allowed in!
The principal of AMU’s Women’s College, Naima Gulrez, offered an even more convoluted reason to her students for preventing them from using the library. “We understand the demand for access to the library. But have you girls ever seen the library? It is jam-packed with boys. If girls too were to be present in it, the discipline issue might crop up.”
The under-graduate women students at AMU say that, in short, both the Vice-Chancellor and the Principal of the Women’s College are denying themthe fundamental right to equality and that too on humiliating grounds.Women’s College students are asking for equal treatment and status as the boys. The women students say that the Women’s College library is inadequately stocked and the students need access to the better Maulana Azad library. The students claim that they are being denied both the right to equality as well as right to education by the action of the Vice-Chancellor and the Principal of the Women’s College.
The Maulana Azad library has a seating capacity of 1300. It is located within the AMU campus at a distance of 3 kms from the Women’s College. The girl students feel that the administration is using regressive excuses to enforce segregation of boys and girls and denial of equal rights to women.
Union Human Resource Development (HRD) minister, Smriti Irani, said the Vice-Chancellor’s reported statement was an “insult to the daughters” and against what the Indian Constitution stood for. The HRD ministry has asked for an explanation from Lt. Gen Zameer Uddin Shah regarding the matter.
The AMU has been in a controversy earlier regarding issuance of a dress code for women students.