Aligarh V-C says girls in library will attract boys

Aligarh V-C says girls in library will attract boys

The vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah, has justified the ban on entry of girls in the varsity’s central library saying the “number of boys visiting the library will increase fourfold if girls are allowed”.

In the wake of a storm over the ban, the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on Tuesday sought an explanation from the vice-chancellor for his remarks at a function at AMU on Monday evening.

Shah, a retired Army officer, incidentally made the remark while addressing the girls of the varsity after the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected office-bearers of the varsity’s Women’s College.

Girl students had demanded that they be allowed to use the library, one of the biggest in the country. “It (allowing the girls in the library) will not only crowd the library but also distract the boys,” the vice-chancellor had gone on to say.

In the wake of all-round criticism, Shah later said there was “a severe shortage of space” in the library. “Allowing girls will further aggravate the situation,” he said. The college has over 4,000 undergraduate girl students.

Shah also said: “The books in the central library are also available online. Further, we have also given a grant of Rs 11 lakh to the library at the Women’s College.”

The V-C also cited security concerns. “The central library is 2 km away from the Women’s College. There is always the danger of mugging and chain-snatching,” he said.
Incidentally, the principal of the Women’s College, Naima Gulrez, has also justified the ban on the same grounds.

Though the ban is decades old, Shah’s remarks justifying it has drawn widespread condemnation from all quarters, including the girl students as well as the HRD Ministry.

“There are some reports which hurt you as a woman and also agitate you. When we attained freedom, there was a belief that education and constitutional rights were the same for all. And now we get reports that amount to insulting the daughters,” HRD Minister Smriti Irani told reporters in New Delhi, reacting to Shah's remark.

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