Zameeruddin Shah
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) vice-chancellor Lieutenant General Zameeruddin Shah.Creative Commons/Two Circles

Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday slammed Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) vice-chancellor Zameeruddin Shah for banning female undergraduate students from the varsity's general library and sought explanation for his "sexist" remark.

She said Shah has "insulted the daughters" and that she was agitated as he went against the Constitution that allows equal rights to education for both men and women.

"There are some reports, which hurt you as a woman and also agitate you... that when we attained freedom there was a belief that education and constitutional rights were same for all. And now we get reports that amount to insult to daughters," The Times of India quoted Irani as saying.

Brother of actor Naseeruddin Shah and retired Lieutenant General, Shah had reportedly said the undergraduate students from AMU Women's College will not be allowed in the Maulana Azad Library as they will attract four times more boys and create an issue of discipline.

However, Shah has denied making any "sexist" remarks and claimed that he intended to point out the lack of space to accommodate nearly 4,000 female undergraduate students in the library that has the capacity for just 1,300 students at a time.

"It is not that I had said that there is no space for girls," he clarified. "We do permit PG girls to the library. But undergraduate girls cannot be accommodated in the Maulana Azad Library primarily due to space crunch."

But Shah's clarification does not seem to be satisfactory as not all the 4,000 students would occupy the library at the same time. Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah too seems to be unconvinced and asked why only girls are being sidelined because of space constraints.