Aligarh Muslim University plans separate union for girl students

New V-C,Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah wants to revert to the old practice of two unions formed on gender lines.

Written by Faisal Fareed | Lucknow | Published: August 29, 2012 3:01:22 am

New V-C,Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah wants to revert to the old practice of two unions formed on gender lines

The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is planning to create a separate electorate of girl students who will elect their own union. The move,termed retrograde by many,will segregate the Women’s College students from the AMU Students’ Union (AMUSU) in the main campus.

Former vice-chancellor P K Abdul Azis had allowed the Women’s College to be part of AMUSU with girl students having participated in the elections and also winning handsomely for the past two years.

The new V-C,Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah,however,has plans to revert to the old practice of two unions that were formed on gender lines.

AMU’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Rahat Abrar said the proposal was under active consideration. “It has been proposed to have a separate students’ union for girls. It is still under consideration and a final decision is awaited,” said Abrar.

Justifying the move,the PRO said the issue of girl students were different from those of boys. “Their problems are different and they cannot be clubbed with the problems of boys. Previously,we had a separate union for them,now the same is being considered again,” he said.

Abrar also cited the distance between the main campus and Women’s College. “The college is situated at quite a distance and thus it is better if they have separate unions.”

Most students,including girls,are opposed to the proposal. “In the last presidential elections of AMUSU,a substantial section of the student community rose above the narrow regional lines and voted for me for the president’s post. This step will have adverse effect,as girls will be confined to the four walls of their college. There will be no mingling with the mainstream,” said Iram Khan,who lost the election but polled 2,752 votes,the highest by any girl candidate in AMU. Another girl,Wajiha Fatima Mehdi,was elected Executive Committee member of AMUSU.

“The move to exclude Women’s College from AMUSU is an attempt to stop an enlightened female leadership from gaining hold on the campus,” said Anam Rais Khan,another student.

Nahid Mustafa,who contested for the post of secretary in AMUSU in 2011 and polled 370 votes,plans to meet the V-C and request him to drop the idea. “It is discrimination against the girls. We do not want to be segregated just because we are girls.”

Some students said the move was meant to appease a particular lobby and reactionary groups in lieu of their cooperation in peaceful functioning of the university.

The Women’s College has graduation classes of all streams. The girl students of PG and other professional courses go to the main campus for their classes and are already part of AMUSU but their number is small. A majority of the girl students are in graduation courses. In the past,Syeda Anwar Taimur,a student of AMU,went on to become Chief Minister of Assam.

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