Students in three girls’ hostels of the Mumbai University at Kalina in Mumbai have opposed a decision barring their entry into a 24×7 library at the campus after 11 PM.
According to university’s recent decision, male students have 24×7 access to the Jawaharlal Nehru library, but girls are allowed entry only till 11 pm owing to security reasons.
The move has been opposed by female students, who staged a protest along with students’ union Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members, following which a decision to form a committee to look into their demand was taken by Board of College and University Development (BCUD).
BCUD is a varsity body that prepares planning academic development programmes.
A group of 120 girl students today wrote to the vice-chancellor, demanding that they may also be allowed to access the library.
It was also decided earlier in the meeting of students and with BCUD officials that a temporary reading room and two books will be provided in the common mess area and a committee will be formed to look into students’ demand.
“The formation of such a committee is in itself discriminatory and therefore, we strongly condemn it,” the letter read.
A female student, who lives in varsity hostel, said, if it is question of security of girls, then university should provide it.
“Why is there so much hue and cry on our entry in the library. Why can’t we be given entry like boys? If there is a question of security, why can’t the administration provide it?,” she asked.
Another female student claimed that they have got the support of Delhi-based Pinjra Tod, an associate of students that advocates for safe and non-gender discriminatory accommodation for women.
ABVP, city head, Rohit Chandode, said, “We are with the girl students. However, we feel that university administration must be given time to set up proper security measures for female students. After that if nothing happens, then we will continue to lend our support.”
When contacted, an university administration official said that the decision to ban girls’ entry during night hours was taken keeping in mind their security.
“Allowing girls to move out late night or throughout the night could jeopardise their safety. We are trying our best to sort out the issue,” the official said.