A circular at a girls' hostel of Aligarh Muslim University advising students to wear "decent clothes like salwaar kameez" has sparked a furore, prompting the varsity to withdraw it.
The controversy started following a circular pasted by the provost of girls' hostel, Abdullah hall, two days back which advised students to wear "decent clothes" like salwar kameez and not to carry more than one mobile phone.
As the diktat drew criticism from various quarters, the AMU authorities on Friday night withdrew the circular while clarifying that it "never even remotely suggested that jeans or T-shirts or any other dress is on the ban list at AMU".
"We have no intention whatsoever of specifying any dress code and neither did the above circular do so. All that we have sought is that students including girls should be in a decent attire which reflects the ethos of our society.
"In any case the above circular was issued not by top university administration but the provost of one of the halls of residence," said Brigadier (Retd) S Ahmad Ali, AMU's pro-vice chancellor, who is holding charge as the acting VC in the absence of Lt Gen Shah.
Ali said there are five halls of residence for girls in the AMU and one out of these had issued an advisory mainly dealing with rules and regulations including the compulsory presentation of ID cards while entering the girls' hostels.
"The above circular was issued by the provost of Abdullah Hall and not by any senior university official. Even then, we have asked the provost to withdraw the above circular so as to remove even an iota of doubt regarding the sincerity of our intentions," he said.
Ali also refuted media reports claiming that use of Internet and social networking websites was banned in the university's hostels. "I was quite shocked to read media reports alleging that we have banned the use of Internet and social media for girls. This is a total fabrication as in fact we are in the process of implementing a project under which every student of the university who resides in the hostel including girls will have a direct access to the Internet facilities in their rooms," he added.
The acting vice chancellor expressed unhappiness saying the media reports had distorted the image of our institution. "There is no question of our trying to impose any retrograde ban," he said.
Ali also added, "Ever since a new administration assumed charge at AMU about a year back, we are leaving no stone unturned to modernise and revitalise the entire edifice of this historic institution.”
He said during the first year, the main effort was to get rid of all unlawful and mischievous elements who had in the past brought a bad name to this institution.
"We are also moving on the fast track for upgrading and modernising the academic system to take this institution to the very top in the country. During this process, we appear to have stepped on many toes and perhaps we have to pay the price for having disturbed the vested interests," he said.