New Delhi, Nov 1:
Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani Tuesday said reports of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) vice chancellor barring girls from accessing the varsity’s library are “hurting and agitating”.
The ministry, through the secretary of higher education, has also sought information on the incident.
“On the 125th birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, some reports of daughters being insulted are coming which, being a woman, are hurting and agitating,” Irani said.
She said it was unfortunate that such statements were coming on a day when the country is celebrating National Education Day.
Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Lt. Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah (Retd.) had Monday turned down a demand from students of the Women’s College for access to the university’s Maulana Azad Library, saying that there would be “four times more boys” in the library if girls were allowed in.
However, he Tuesday said that his statement has been sensationalised.
“These reports are completely wrong. I said there is no space for even a single seat in that library. We are not sexist and we also want women’s empowerment and certainly don’t want to segregate our girls,” Shah said.
Defending himself, Shah added: “In the women’s college we have given a grant of Rs.11 lakh so that the library could be improved with air conditioners like in the Maulana Azad library. Every book which is there at Maulana Library is already available online for the girls.”
Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla said such statements coming from the head of an institution are “shocking”.
Congress leader Rashid Alvi condemned Shah’s statement, and said it was “disrespectful” towards women.