At AMU girls' hostel, only salwar kameez, no films or eating out


Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has asked residents of its women's hostels at Abdullah Hall to wear "proper and decent-looking dresses, i.e., salwar kameez with dupatta, both in or outside the hostel".

The students have been told that they can keep only one mobile phone whose number is known to their parents because, according to the university authorities, many students use their phones to speak to boyfriends on the sly.

The women have also been told that they cannot visit cinemas, restaurants and hotels.

The restrictions have been put up on the noticeboards of the six hostels that make up Abdullah Hall, and in which nearly 1,300 students of AMU's Women's College stay.

In April, AMU vice-chancellor Lt Gen. (retd) Zameeruddin Shah had, in an open letter to students, instructed male students to wear sherwanis when they came to meet him. The university had also asked women students to "dress according to the customs and traditions" of AMU.

Women students who do not abide by the new restrictions would be fined Rs 500, says the notice.

Residents of Abdullah Hall are allowed to go out to shop or meet their guardians on Fridays and Sundays. They may have male visitors on designated days, but cannot bring them inside the hostels. Even before the new ban on visiting cinemas and restaurants, Aligarh's main market, Centre Point, situated down the road from Abdullah Hall, was out of bounds for the women.

Abdullah Hall provost Dr Ghazala Parveen said she was not conservative, and the restrictions were "precautions" against "indecent incidents".

"It is all precautionary measures. The dress code is indicative; outside the hall, they can wear anything, but not inside. But they should be properly and decently dressed. I am a liberal and have no problem with the dress code but then they need to give an undertaking that if any indecent incident happens, I will not be held responsible," Dr Parveen said. She said the restrictions on going to movie halls or restaurants were in place last year too.

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