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Sexual Harassment on the Rise in Aligarh Muslim University

Two teachers have been suspended for sexual harassment. A woman student quit because she could take it no more. Another had her clothes pulled for her "un-Islamic" dress.//Now an angry student is on hunger strike. The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Uttar Pradesh is in ferment.

Worse, many of AMU's women students - they number a staggering 5,000 of the 28,000 student population - are being told that they are bringing a bad name to the university by protesting.

But girl students told IANS they cannot take it any more. The authorities, they say, do not even allow them to step out of the campus. They need to take permission if they go out even for coaching classes. There are no such curbs on male students.

Asma Javed, who has been on hunger strike since Thursday outside the vice chancellor's house, told IANS on phone from Aligarh: "I have been punished for daring to complain against a professor. I have been threatened time and again. They want me to withdraw my complaint."

Asma, who was even shot at on the campus but survived, said: "The professor used to invite me over to his place and offer money."

Disgusted, she complained to AMU's women's grievance cell and the police. Goaded into action, the university suspended Mohammed Shareef, a reader in Sanskrit.

"This isn't the first complaint against Shareef. I am now being victimised for speaking up," said Asma, who wants Shareef axed. She alleges she is being denied admission to a PhD course.

In the last six months, three complaints have been lodged with the women's cell. Students say nine of them went to lodge complaints but only three were accepted.

Amina Kishore, principal of AMU's Women's College, told IANS: "Asma suspects she was not given admission because she lodged a complaint. That is not true."

Asked when Asma's case will be heard, Amina said: "A date has not been fixed."

Students say this isn't the only compl
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