New Delhi: On January 9, security guards and security supervisors at Jamia Millia Islamia spent extra duty hours at the gates.
“My colleague had night shift on January 9. So I decided to stay back and keep him company because of the panicky conditions everywhere. We saw two-three cars, one of which was a Scorpio, taking rounds of the university at around 11-11:30 pm. I suggested to my colleagues that we need to take extra precaution in case something happens. So, we issued a few lathis and were active there till 5 am,” a security supervisor told LiveWire on the condition on anonymity.
On January 5, scores of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University were attacked by a group of masked men between 7-10 pm. Students, teachers and residents of the campus were badly injured despite the police presence at the campus gates. The masked goons, however, escaped the premises without being detained or arrested – till date.
Such blatant ambushing on campuses has horrified students and staff across universities in India, including in Jamia, where the Delhi police recently entered campus and lathi-charged students.
Recalled the horrifying night of December 15, the security supervisor said, “I was present at the gate that night when the police barged in and hit my head with a lathi. I fear facing anything like that again and I want to convey that Jamia Millia Islamia University is alert.”
Students on campus have lost faith in the police since the incident. “We cannot trust the police or the court to take any action against the violence or to protect us, that is why we have made sure everyone in Jamia is alert and aware,” said a student.
Jamia’s vice chancellor Najma Akhtar, however, has said that the administration will lodge an FIR against the Delhi police. According to India Today, Akhtar also said that they will go to the court if the issue isn’t resolved.
Meanwhile, Jamia is surrounded by dense residential areas like Batla House, Ghaffar Manzil and Sukhdev Vihar. A majority of the students in the university live in these localities.
“On January 9, around 2 am, my friends and I went to Jamia boys’ hostel to drop a friend. That is when we saw the guards of Jamia holding lathis. We asked them the reason for staying up so late and that too with lathis as it isn’t a normal sight for us at all. They told us about the risky atmosphere and hence, we, too, spent the entire night with them at the university gates,” said a resident from Ghaffar Manzil.
The students are keeping a check on the university and nearby areas every hour of the day to avoid any kind of unjust actions by troublemakers as the protestors are constantly hearing warnings such as “mob alert”, “a big mob heading towards protest site” and so on.
Verda Subzwari is a journalism student at AJK Mass Communication and Research Center, Jamia Millia Islamia.
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