Days after being expelled from the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (Manuu) girls’ hostel, a Kashmiri student, filed a complaint with Padash, the varsity’s committee which deals with cases of gender discrimination and sexual harassment, against in-charge provost Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan.
While the student, identified as Khushnawaz Rashid, a student of mass communication, had indeed filed the complaint. The sources categorically clarified that the complaint was not of sexual harassment and added that the case is being treated as that of gender discrimination.
Sources said that the student was expelled from the hostel as she remained untraceable for 24 hours, students on the other hand said that she was being “targeted” for being part of the October protests.
In the process, two Kashmiri girl students were expelled from hostels while 10 male and female students were slapped with show cause notices and even fined for misconduct on campus.
While some students were served notices and fined for staging protests that ‘threatened the campus atmosphere’ and ‘intimidated authorities’, the Kashmiri students were expelled on charges of having physically assaulted those who opposed ‘their ways’.
Padash chairperson Dr Shahida told TOI that Rashid’s petition has been accepted and is being processed. She said that while the complaint was not of sexual harassment, the body also looks into cases of gender discrimination and therefore the case has been admitted.
‘Penalised for violation’
At last, a fight for gender justice and freedom of expression ended on a bitter note for students of MANUU as the varsity authorities took penal action against at least a dozen of them this month. MANUU administration, however, rejected allegations posed by students as authorities explained that the notices, expulsion and fine were directed only at students who broke rules rampantly.
“Every university has rules. MANUU took action only against female students who either failed to inform authorities about their absence from the hostel or fought with other hostel inmates,” said Ehtesham Ahmed Khan, Provost of MANUU hostels.
The male students were issued notices for staging a “violent fight on campus” against the university Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Khan explained. The campus has two hostels for women and four for men.
It was the first action it ever took against students. “We had to take action to set an example. The action was taken following the recommendations of the disciplinary committee,” the Provost said.