Women employees, officials fume after university in Lucknow says they can’t work after 6 pm
Women employees criticise the order, asking why female students and women teachers have not been included
Lucknow An order that no woman official or employee of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU) will work beyond 6 pm unless for a specific reason has drawn flak for not including students and teachers.
BBAU vice chancellor Prof RC Sobti issued the order on Monday evening, stating the rule is to be strictly adhered to. In case of an emergency, prior permission has to be obtained from the V-C. “This step has been taken for security reasons,” reads the order.
Women employees criticised the order, asking why female students and women teachers were not included. “If the office is unsafe for women, then the campus must also be unsafe for the girls studying here,” said a woman officer who did not want her name to be disclosed.
“The university library is open from 8 am to 8 pm. The vice-chancellor should shut that down as well,” said another.
Yet another employee questioned why the university thought that security was essential for women alone. “It is strange that BBAU is unable to ensure safety for women officers after 6 pm, but has made no mention of security for male officers. Won’t they require security too, if they have to work till late?” she asked.
Clarifying matters, university spokesperson Govind Pandey said, “In the recent past, there have been incidents involving safety of women employees. The decision was taken in the interest of women officers, and one should not read too much into it.”
Some students also alleged it was meant to target the woman registrar, Sunita Chandra. “She has constantly fought for justice for students, unlike other administration officials,” said a Dalit student.
On June 15, Chandra had alleged that the finance officer had misbehaved with her. Based on the complaint, the police had registered an FIR against the accused officer, Rama Shankar Singh. “He was charged under the SC/ST Act and IPC section 323,” said Sudhakar Pandey, inspector, Ashiana police station.
Later, Singh also lodged a counter complaint against Chandra.
According to Chandra, she went to meet the finance officer at 5.50 pm, but he was not there and came in only after a staff member telephoned him. Then, the two had an argument, and Singh left the office followed by Chandra. She said it was at this point that the officer tried to hold her hand and “misbehaved with her”.
A university official said the order was issued to put an end to such incidents. “If women employees notify about their presence (in advance), the university will ensure security for them.”