The 11 pm curfew is for both male and female students but the administration is lenient towards the former and strict with us.
Mumbai: A decision by Mumbai University (MU) to disallow female students residing on its Kalina campus from entering a proposed 24x7 library after 11 pm has sparked a controversy. Students have been on hunger strike for two days over the issue and are holding protests against MU vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh, whom they allege is responsible for the decision.
According to protesters, MU has cited the security of female students as the reason behind the move. Students are not allowed to step outside the hostel after 11 pm, according to the university’s rules.
Rohit Chandode, the city head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), said, “We have been protesting against Mr Deshmukh on campus for two days now. Firstly, the MU is delaying the construction of the library.
Now it is saying only male students will be allowed to use it all through the night but not female students owing to security concerns. This cannot happen. We will sit on protest until it is changed.” A female student protester, who did not wish to be named, said, “The demand for 24x7 library is a long-standing and we were happy that MU was keen on the same. However, it has informed us that it won’t change the hostel’s curfew simply because we want to study in the library. The 11 pm curfew is for both male and female students but the administration is lenient towards the former and strict with us.”
Commenting on the matter, a political science student said, “There are times when female guests have visited the campus and have been told not to venture out of their respective accommodations after 11 pm.”
Asking security issues exist only for female students, and not their male counterparts, women’s rights activist and sociologist Nandini Sardesai said, “Does this mean that MU is bothered about crimes against female students and not males? If the library is 24x7 in that case it should be 24x7 for both male and female. Why discriminate?”
Meanwhile, several attempts to reach Mr Deshmukh did not yield any response.