Not more than one cell phone, wear a “proper and decent salwar kameez with dupatta” at all times and do not step in or out of the campus without stating the details — all these are part of a new set of diktats that undergraduate students of Women’s College living in the Abdullah Hall of the Aligarh Muslim University will now have to follow. Non adherence to these dos and don’ts that were pasted on the gates of the Abdullah Hall on Friday will invoke punitive action, including a fine of up to Rs.500.
Signed by Provost Dr. Ghazala Parveen, the notice also includes pointers on how to keep the rooms clean, save energy, not use electric appliances like heaters inside their rooms and not to “involve in any illegal activity” that is “unbecoming” of university students.
The notice has upset students and a section of the faculty members in Abdullah Hall, who perceive the notice as yet another “restriction” on the girls.
“This is totally absurd. But such absurdity is fast becoming a common practice with administration having little sense of accountability and fairness. The university administration comes out with such diktats against women as it feels confident of [being] backed by the conservatives,” said a faculty member on condition of anonymity.
University PRO Rahat Abrar said the notice has been issued by the Provost of the Abdullah Hall and does not include other women students. “This is meant only for the Abdullah Hall residents and not for the women who are enrolled in various other departments of the University.”
On why a dress code is being enforced, he said: “The girls [in Abdullah Hall] are small, the Provost probably wanted to enforce some discipline. This should not be seen as a diktat.” His explanation failed to placate the girls in Abdullah Hall who have been fighting for years for fewer restrictions on the campus and to be allowed to use the Maulana Azad Library.
Recently, the V-C wrote an open letter to the students asking the men to wear a sherwani on Fridays, during university functions and if they wanted to meet him.