Afreen Fatima is 19 and looks very innocent, but innocence is no yardstick to evaluate a person’s capabilities. I admit I look like a small girl but I have not been selected the president from AMU’s women’s college because of my innocent face. I went to every student and explained my purpose to them. I have assured them that I want to fight for them. Often this has happened that the girls have gone to the management with their issues, their views were not accepted and they were sent back. I will not do this. I will sit there, I will keep sitting there for a day or two days or for hundred days. I have said this—do not go by my innocent face, whatever I have promised, I have to fulfil it and I will fight for it.”
Afreen Fatima who belongs to Allahabad, has been recently elected president of the AMU Women’s college. She defeated Sidra Ishrat with 98 votes. Afreen got 726 votes. The women’s college has 3000 students. Two thousand of them took part in the election. After the victory Afreen Fatima during the oath taking ceremony said that she will fulfill the expectations of her sisters and will work on several issues related to them.
According to the newly elected president of the women’s college, she was forced to contest the elections as there was no improvement in the management policies. The elected candidates were not able to create the required pressure on the management. “Our election issues were centered on the step motherly treatment meted out to us.”
It’s worth mentioning that for last few years there is a conflict going on in the women’s college to prove that they are no less than boys and the same attention should be paid to their issues as well. Last year, the election campaign of girls on bullet motorcycles was also part of this movement.
The then candidate for the president’s post, Naba Naseem had won the elections with the demand for allowing girls to go out of the hostel on all days of the week. At present the girls can go out of the hostel for only three days in a week. Afreen says, “I am an adult. I can go out on whatever day I want. Who wants to know why I want to go out?
Afreen says that she is not contesting the election on the issue of inequality, but the word ‘step motherly’ was used prominently during her campaign. She says, "It is the management which is following wrong policies, the management treats us in a step motherly way, the management considers us inferior. We are not allowed to attend the Mushaira, they announce a holiday the next day, The people in the main campus get the dates of the exam changed whenever they want, four girls are called to recite the tarana in the programme”
We want to be treated in the same manner as the students of the main campus. we are no less than them, we have issues with the facilities or the lack facilities provided to us..
Father of the third year student of BA (language) Afreen Fatima, Javed is a businessman. She says we are now living in 'Prayagraj', apart from the name change, she says that Muslims are going through a very painful phase in the country. They are treated as second class citizens. When we have to give explanations and justifications for everything, it means a lot is going wrong with us.
According to Shadab Bano, a former student of AMU, there has been a change in the mindset of girls with the changing situation.
This can be called revolutionary change in their thinking. Girls have been fighting on the issue of equality for quite sometime now.
According to Afreen's friend Iftesham, Afreen has really understood the issues of those girls who reside inside the college. Of course, she was the most qualified candidate, obviously we are hoping now that this step motherly attitude towards us will stop now.