Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh banned its female students from entering the University library, and received serious criticism from media and the HRD Ministry, on November 11, 2014. The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Zameeruddin Shah, had given a statement in an effort to justify his actions, but ended up making it worse.

 

Yesterday, however, it was announced that the University was going to review the ban. Even though many students have stood up against the ban, some have decided to stand by their VC, claiming he is like their father.

 

The students’ union issued a statement that condemned the negative light the university was being shown in, but also stated: “We also condemn the irresponsible and careless remarks of the vice chancellor. We would like to reiterate that the vice-chancellor should stop making statements unbecoming of his stature, and should ensure that the grievances and problems of the students of AMU, particularly those of Women’s College, are addressed immediately,” reported Times of India.

 

[Picture Courtesy: News 18]

 

According to a report by PTI, the University spokesman, Rahat Abrar said that the ban had not been imposed now and, “Whatever provisions are in place today have been so ever since the Women’s College was established in the year 1936.” Does that seem like a valid reason to still stop women from accessing the library in 2014?

 

The university has since given many statements in favour of their decisions often saying that the reason behind their decision is not influenced by their gender bias but because of infrastructural shortcomings. One statement also said that Undergraduate girls and boys of different colleges do have permission to access the library.

 

Assuming all of these facts are true, the fact that the Vice Chancellor of a reputed University in a democratic nation bans a section of women from accessing a public space because of their gender cannot be acceptable. The poor infrastructure of universities all across the country has been an important issue for years but this cannot be used as a valid excuse to dismiss the demands of female students.

 

If all universities followed this example, then every time a student’s club or a public space intended for students is found overcrowded, the women will be banned from using it. This is not just unfair, it is also sexist and should not be entertained or tolerated by either the students of AMU or the government.