India: Neighbour threatens female students for pursuing higher education

"Only girls with bad character go to college."
In a bizarre case, two Muslim girls have approached the Bombay High Court to seek protection from their neighbour who does not want them to pursue higher education on religious grounds.
According to Samina Shaikh (19) and her younger sister Zarina (18), their neighbour Mohammad Ali Nisar Ansari went to the extent of allegedly assaulting their parents, brother and Samina last month for continuing with their studies.

Ansari thought that ‘only girls with bad character go to college’ and did not want the girls to go to college after their matriculation, their petition said. He allegedly told their father Yashin Shaikh not to send his daughters to college but the latter ignored this.

In March, Ansari allegedly assaulted Samina, following which she went to Nagpada police station where personnel allegedly refused to accept her complaint as he was a police informer, the petition said. On May 11, Ansari and two others allegedly assaulted the girls' father, brother and mother. The three had to be hospitalised. Ansari's mother and sister wiped the bloodstains after the attack to destroy evidence, the petition claimed. When the petition came up before a Division Bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and D B Bhosale, the public prosecutor told the court that Ansari had been arrested after the second incident but was released on bail.

The girls maintained that police are not serious about ensuring their safety and want their case to be transferred to another police station. The court has summoned the senior police inspector concerned on June 18 and asked the prosecution to produce the case record.

12 June 2007