Today, October 21, marks the eighth day of protest at Jamia Milia Islamia, over a show cause notice being issued to five students. About two weeks ago, on October 5, these students – along with many others – were part of a demonstration against an event which had a delegate from Israel.
Israel, students say, has been committing large-scale human rights violation against Palestinians and, therefore, it was not right on behalf of the department to invite them. However, the protest took an unexpected turn when security guards allegedly manhandled some students outside the proctor’s office.
Students say that they have been protesting for the past eight days and haven’t heard anything from the administration as yet.
A couple of weeks back, when students heard about Israeli participation at the ‘Global Health Zenith: Confluence’19’, a three-day event event organised by the faculty of architecture and ekistics, they decided to hold a peaceful protest outside the university’s Ansari auditorium.
As soon as the administration got wind of the protest, they allegedly called the parents of some students asking them to meet the vice chancellor. The parents, students say, didn’t turn up.
On the day of the protest, security guards allegedly manhandled two students and also, as students say, took them to the proctor’s office.
Immediately after, the protestors rushed to the proctor’s office seeking action against the guards on duty.
“As soon as we reached, we complained the proctor about the manhandling and he verbally assured that the matter will be duly enquired. Later, the two students were released and we were told to meet the proctor on Wednesday. The proctor, we know, was indirectly trying to dodge the issue because no action was taken even when the CCTV footage showed guards manhandling the students,” a protestor said.
A day later, a show cause notice was issued.
LiveWire has sent an email to the proctor as well as the university’s vice chancellor seeking a response on the allegations raised by the students. This copy shall be updated with their response as and when they reply.
A student of the university also alleged that this is not the first time that the Jamia administration, under the new vice chancellor, has used coercive measures to disallow protests on campus. Students met with the same fate when they protested an incident of mob-lynching in old Delhi.
“When there was a case of mob-lynching in old Delhi, we organised a protest against it on campus. The administration called our guardians back home threatening to rusticate us if we continued to take part in such protests. The new VC, every now and then, uses these means to throttle dissent within the campus. For the past couple of months, over 10-12 students have been called to her office. This is mental harassment, ” said a student.
Another student, who didn’t wish to be named, alleged that the name of the Israeli delegate was mysteriously removed from the poster on the event’s site last night.
“Last night, when we checked the event’s page online, we saw that the Israeli delegate’s name was removed. It was there all this while. Also, we were informed that the vice chancellor wrote an email to the the dean of the architecture department seeking clarification on the participation of the person from Israel at the event. We don’t understand why this email was sent ten days later, on October 17, and not before? Why didn’t the administration issue any press release on the day of the protest?” he said.
After that email, on October 18, a disciplinary committee was set up to let students, who were issued a show cause notice, share their side of the story. However, the students boycotted the committee meeting alleging “discrepancies” in the whole process.
“We believe that the proctor himself is trying to stall the protest. How can he, himself and not any independent body, initiate the inquiry and set up the disciplinary committee? This is the reason why we boycotted the meeting,” the student said.
The students intend to take out a protest march till the vice chancellor’s office tomorrow.
Featured image by special arrangement