On May 8, some Hindu students from Jamia Millia Islamia organised a protest, saying they are feeling threatened in the university. However, they allegedly raised controversial slogans related to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, causing a rift with other students and leaving Jamia’s administration in a dilemma.
Imran Noor, a third-year mechanical engineering student said, “I saw people with banners that said ‘Hindus are not safe in Jamia’ and they were shouting slogans such as ‘Jinnah premi Bharat chodo’ (Jinnah lovers should leave India) in front of the university.” Noor added that he thinks this protest is an attempt to cause unrest in the university, similar to what happened at AMU.
Mohd Farid, a resident of Batla House who also witnessed the protest said, “Several provocative slogans were raised by these protestors. Initially, they were saying that Hindus are not safe in Jamia but afterwards another slogan, “Jinnah ki auladein Bharat chodo” (Jinnah’s children should leave India) was also raised by that crowd.”
Safoora Zargar, who is getting a master’s in sociology at the university, said that it started with a Facebook post by a Jamia student who invited Jinnah’s supporters in Jamia to a confrontation at Jullena chowk. Zargar said she thought the crowd decided to raise provocative slogans outside the university gates after the Facebook post failed to get a response from the student community.
Several Jamia students came together in the evening to denounce the protest as a way to malign the university’s reputation. They demanded that the university’s proctor file an FIR against those who raised such slogans outside the campus. They have also demanded disciplinary action against the students who participated in the protest.
However, Rahul Tiwari, the protest’s organiser, posted on Facebook to say that it was a peaceful protest to fight the intimidation of Hindu students at Jamia. The post added “We would also like to make clear, that any kind of provocation, attack, intimidation or threat shall definitely be considered and a befitting reply would be given to the person or body concerned. Because Hindu lives also matter.”
Akhlaq Ahmad Khan, an alumnus of the university, thinks that the same powers who tried to cause tensions in AMU are now targeting Jamia. “We have no relation with Jinnah’s photograph whatsoever,” he stated. He added that Jamia alumni are going to support the students in their struggle to file an FIR against those who tried to create communal discord.
When contacted, Jamia’s proctor, Haroon Sajjad, said that the university will only take action after consulting with students and investigating the matter. “We are still in the campus talking to students and are going to take any action only after proper investigation,” he said.
Sumaira Rizvi is a final year master’s student of Convergent Journalism at AJK-MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia.