Mobile use banned in women’s college, except in minister’s presence

SRINAGAR: Education Minister, Nayeem Akhtar, was seen disregarding the rules set by the administration of Government College for Women, MA Road, by ‘encouraging’ the girl students to click selfies with him.
Akhtar visited the campus on Tuesday to attend an event organised by the college administration. After the event, the minister was engaged by the students in clicking selfies, and he, as per the insiders, didn’t say no to anyone of them.
Rather, his “lay lou, lay lou (take it, take it)” response encouraged more students to take out their cell-phones and click selfies with him.
The minister’s act, however, goes against the college’s rule that bars its students from using cell-phones inside the campus. And it has also infuriated the teachers who toil hard to check any violation of the rule.
“It was shocking for us to see the students take out their cell-phones so openly inside the campus to click pictures. Instead of objecting to their behaviour, the minister cooperated with them,” teachers in the college told Kashmir Reader on Wednesday.
Principal of a prominent college who happened to be a part of the gathering said he was surprised to see the minister show no regard to the college’s rule.
“I couldn’t believe if it was the same Nayeem Akhtar who calls himself a learned, disciplined man,” the principal, wishing anonymity, said. “He should have stopped the students and questioned the principal of the college about the use of cell-phones inside the campus.”
The principal of Government College for Women, Prof Shaheena Altaf, told Kashmir Reader that she didn’t find anything wrong in the whole act.
“I don’t see a problem in students, who were inspired with his (minister’s) speech, wanting to take selfies with him. We could not stop them,” she said.
She did, however, confirm that use of cell-phones is strictly prohibited inside the campus for the students.
“The girls can carry their cell-phones, but they cannot use the devices inside the campus,” she said.
The minister called it people’s opinion he needed not to worry about.
“Everybody is entitled to his or her views. I respect that. The pictures were taken by innocent children who could be my grandchildren. If they find a reason to bond with me as someone responsible for their education it only brings more responsibility on me,” he said.
“I am just trying to facilitate that (making the education system more accountable). That is perhaps a reason why some students like me as a person,” Akhtar said.
He didn’t reply to the question about him violating the rule.