An academic at one of India’s oldest universities said Tuesday women were banned from its main library, as a minister joined the chorus of outrage against the institution for denying access over fears of “distracting” male students. Shadab Bano, assistant professor at the Women’s College of the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), told AFP her students were shut out of the library with a steady variety of excuses.
“We have been fighting for this for a long time. Every time we raise a demand, the authorities either give an evasive response or come up with strange reasons for not letting the girls inside,” she said. “Earlier they used to say that the road to the library is not safe for girls and now this,” she added. Meanwhile India’s education minister Smriti Irani voiced anger after a report in The Times of India newspaper pinned the blame on the attitude of the university’s Vice-Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah.