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Indian-origin student takes on UK universities on gender segregation

London:  An Indian-origin student at Cambridge University has challenged a move by British universities to allow "voluntary" gender segregation at Muslim meetings on campuses across the country.Radha Bhatt has demanded in a legal letter that
PTI January 13, 2014 10:04 IST
PTI
London:  An Indian-origin student at Cambridge University has challenged a move by British universities to allow "voluntary" gender segregation at Muslim meetings on campuses across the country.

Radha Bhatt has demanded in a legal letter that Universities UK (UUK), which represents all vice-chancellors in the United Kingdom, admit that a guidance on segregation, it published last November, was "unlawful".

UUK's guidance had cited a case study to justify its policy of allowing the "voluntary" separation of men and women for religious purposes.

It was forced to withdraw the case study last month and to review its guidance after Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted to ban segregation at universities.

Bhatt, a 19-year-old first-year history student, believes that the UUK guidance is a threat to women of all backgrounds.

"I don't see this as a Muslim issue. Once you allow one religious group to impose its discriminatory values, it's like a slippery slope, and others will follow," she told the Sunday Times.

"Universities are secular, neutral public bodies that perform public functions, and for them to allow others to impose such discriminatory values is really dangerous."