Pune: The Government run Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Medical College (BJMC) has put restrictions on the library timings of its female students, causing an uproar among post graduate entrants of the college. The BJMC is attached to the Sassoon General Hospital and students work in the hospital at all odd hours of night.
The latest directive of the Dean, BJMC, Ajay Chandanwale, asks all women students to vacate the library premises at the stroke of midnight. The boys however, can continue to sit in,well into the night. So severe is the library regulation, that lady security guards enter the library around 11.30 with batons, reminding girls that they have to be out of the reading room at 12 midnight.
The new library regulation is going against the University Grant Commission’s Saksham report which clarifies that no institution can pass gender biased orders. According to the report, all orders passed have to ensure that they do not curb the freedom of women, however, they ensure their safety.
Defending the college’s midnight library rule for women students Chandawale said, “We realized that women students were coming to the library to study even after 1:30 am, which is not good considering that it is not very safe.”
For the MBBS undergraduate students, the library is a no in many ways as they have to report back to their hostel rooms at 9.30 pm. Once again the male students have no restrictions on returning to the hostel.
“We have kept an in-time for women students in their hostel with a security point of view. There has to be some discipline. Rules and regulations have to be followed when students are living in the college hostel,” Chandanwale said.
On being asked why the regulations were restricted to the female students, the Dean said women were a priority over men, though he did mention an in time for the boys being introduced in the near future.
The one year internship students appearing for the post graduation exam however, expressed there inability to study enough due to the library restrictions. The students spoke of non availability of additional study material, making it difficult for them to clear the forthcoming exam.
“We have several books to learn from and all of them are very costly. We buy only the essential books and rely on the library for the remaining. By telling us not to stay in the library after midnight, the college is actually making it difficult for us to clear our PG entrance,” an intern complained
A few others complained of time cycles of study being different for different students and the library being the only place of study at odd hours.
“My room-mate is an early riser whereas I study at night. I cannot keep the lights on in the room at night. Till mid-October, I was studying in the library. Now this diktat has made it impossible for me to study for more than an hour or two, which is certainly not enough if I have to clear the PG entrance,” she said.
Some others came down heavily on the security aspect being made a the reason for imposition of library restrictions.
“If the officials are talking about the safety aspect, then why are women given emergency duties at the hospital? We work in the casualty and other sections of the hospital at all hours and return to our hostel rooms without any escort. If it is safe for us to do emergency duty, how is it not safe for us to be in the library? It is a pity that women students who have cleared the toughest entrance exams to get a seat in BJMC now have to fight for their right to study.” said a student.
However, the male counterparts justified the regulation saying it was introduced with the idea of safety. “The hostel is at least a kilometer away from the library. It is better they leave for the hostel before it gets too late,” a resident doctor added.
A resident undergraduate gave the reason for the library regulation to be the college’s proximity to the Pune railway station and unwanted miscreants roaming in the vicinity.
The women students however, contradicted all explanation and justification by adding,”The men obviously want less competition. The female to male ratio here is 60:40. With less study time, fewer women will be able to crack the entrance. The men will have an advantage.”