The Uttar Pradesh government’s directive to private coaching institutes not to conduct late-evening classes for female students as “wrong at many levels” and discriminatory, several social media users have said.

The directive was announced as part of the Safe City project that the state government launched last week. The government said that the objective of the project is to ensure the safety of women, children and senior citizens, The Times of India reported.

However, several people on microblogging site X, formerly known as Twitter, said that the order prohibiting coaching institutes from conducting late-evening classes for girls and women would “kill so many dreams”.

Some of them contrasted the directive with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll promises of making streets in Uttar Pradesh safe for women.

Journalist Gargi Rawat remarked that the state government, instead of ensuring safety, was preventing women from attending coaching. “That’s not how a smart city or safer city should work,” she remarked.

In a similar vein, Sailee Rane, a former Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee student, recalled her experience of late-night curfews for women ostensibly to ensure safety.

“This has to stop,” she said. “Girls can’t be bearing the cost of an incompetent administration that can’t ensure their safety.”

Author Gourav Mohanty questioned why such restrictions have not been imposed on male students.

“Boys can study till midnight or more – no issues,” he remarked. “But you see, girls are at-risk species and the best way for them to be safe is to stay indoors [similar to endangered animals in zoos].”

However, some social media users said that the claim that women were being prevented from attending coaching classes was misleading and that the directive only pertains to late-evening classes.