AMU Issue: An ‘Insult to Our Daughters,’ says HRD Minister Smriti Irani

A day after Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah denied the demand of Women’s College students for accessing the University’s central library, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said that the issue has amounted as an “insult to daughters,” on Monday.

The minister said, "There are some reports which hurt you as a woman and also agitate you… that when we attained freedom there was a belief that education and constitutional rights were same for all. And now we get reports that amount to insult to daughters."

While speaking at the oath taking ceremony of the Women’s College student’s union, where the demand for access to the Maulana Azad Library was made, Shah has commented that girls coming to the library will bring “four times more boys” to come to library. He has raised the problem of space, by mentioning that the library is already crowded.

However, the VC has made it clear that what he meant was the problem of space in the library but said, that has been "twisted" to project something else. While speaing in a convocation in Lucknow, Shah said, "It is not that I had said that there is no space for girls. We do permit PG girls to the library. But undergraduate girls cannot be accommodated in the Maulana Azad Library primarily due to space crunch."

The VC has clearly stated that the decision is not taken regarding any discipline issue but College Principal Naima Gulrez has brought in the same factor of ‘discipline’ as a major issue and said "the library is jam-packed with boys, if girls too were present then the discipline issue might crop up,” extending her support to VC’s decision.

The VC had reportedly said, “We are not at all sexist. We want women empowerment and certainly don’t want to segregate our girls.” While stressing on the issue of space, the VC said that all the books in the library are available in online.

However, being stirred up himself within the controversy, the VC has been asked to submit a report on the ban of girls’ entry to the library, to the HRD minister.

According to reports, the women’s college students have not yet given membership in the library.

Amid, according to reports, National Federation of Indian Women general secretary Annie Raja has said that the VC doesn’t deserve to occupy his post. She has said, "This shows the diseased mindset of the VC. He is not fit to sit in that position. Even the latest law says that if any person who follows women, it’s a crime. And if the VC fails, if his accusation is right, then he should take action against all those boys."

Pointing out VC’s claim of having less space as the reason for the ban, Raja said that they should be worried about the infrastructure rather than imposing ban on girls’ entry to the library. "If they say that boys are coming so there is not much space, then this is the question of their infrastructure. They should address the question of infrastructure rather than stopping girls. The library is meant for all students," she said.

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