Farah wages lonely battle

LIKE MOST girls her age, Farah Aziz ? a post-graduate student of journalism and mass communication in Aligarh Muslim University ? likes to wear jeans and t-shirts. But her choice of clothes has left her harassed, threatened and created turmoil in the university. On February 2, Farah was assaulted by two students on a bike near the vice-chancellor?s office. They snatched her shawl and fled. Farah promptly reported the matter to V-C Naseem Ahmad and the proctor.Along with her, several other girl students complained of being eve-teased.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 01:09 IST

LIKE MOST girls her age, Farah Aziz — a post-graduate student of journalism and mass communication in Aligarh Muslim University — likes to wear jeans and t-shirts. But her choice of clothes has left her harassed, threatened and created turmoil in the university.

On February 2, Farah was assaulted by two students on a bike near the vice-chancellor’s office. They snatched her shawl and fled. Farah promptly reported the matter to V-C Naseem Ahmad and the proctor.

Along with her, several other girl students complained of being eve-teased. The following day, Farah lodged a First Information Report (FIR) with the police.

Surprisingly, neither the AMU administration nor the police took any action. On the contrary, Farah got another dose of harassment from the moral police, who warned her to stick to the AMU ‘dress code’ of kurta and dupatta or face the consequences. The thing is, AMU doesn’t have any such dress code.

Not one to be cowered, Farah has taken her fight to Delhi and approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for protection and a directive to AMU to take measures to prevent such incidents in the future.

On Thursday, at a press conference in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), she said: “The women’s cell at AMU is virtually non-functional. This, despite Supreme Court guidelines that a women’s cell be established in every university to address issues of sexual harassment.”

She also said she was warned by students’ union office-bearers to keep quiet.
The administration has called Farah’s allegations an attempt to malign the university’s name.

AMU spokesperson Prof Asmar Mirza Beg said that when the matter was brought to the notice of the Vice-Cjancellor, he immediately directed the proctor to enquire into it and report it to the police. An FIR was lodged but since Farah couldn’t identify her assailants, immediate disciplinary action couldn’t be taken.

Aligarh Muslim University students inion (AMUSU) president Abdul Hafeez Gandhi said: “I refute all allegations. We are willing to take up Farah’s complaint.

She should’ve gone through proper channels instead of going to the media.”

Some student leaders have accused Farah of working at the behest of some political party to divert attention from the movement for restoration of minority status to Aligarh Muslim University.

First Published: Feb 11, 2006 01:09 IST