Police slapped and hit us, claim Jamia students on hunger strike
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Okhla Times Campus Reporter/JMI, Okhla Head
MAY 9, 2011: Some students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) mostly girls, who have been on hunger strike since May 7 from around 11 A.M. against University’s decision not to let them appear in exams on the ground of short attendance, got the shock of their life when a handful of police forcibly tried to remove them from the campus at about 4 P.M on May 8. The police action led to a chaos with girl students rushing to save their colleagues (boys) who were being forced in to the police van to be taken to Jamia police station.
At this time Nabeela Zaidi, a Mass Communication final year student who has been debarred, called OKHLA TIMES to inform that the police were assaulting and manhandling students who were sitting on hunger strike for the last more than 24 hours. The police onslaught took place only after one of their colleagues Samia Ahmed was zipped to Holy Family Hospital after suffering heat stroke.
From the voice of the Nabeela it could be easily made out that she was upset with the development. After five minutes another call came this time claiming that some four students have been forcibly taken to a nearby police station. In the police station four girl students were deeply concernced about the fate of their colleagues. They were worried about their whereabouts. Later on it was found that the boys were seated in a nearby room. The police didn’t allow anybody to enter the room.
Nabeela was busy on the phone. She was desperately trying to inform the media about the development. Surprisingly, no representative from Jamia Old Boys’ Association (JOBA) that was well aware of the protest turn up. After some fifteen minutes or so Sujeta Seth, mother of Arham Seth, came to the police station with other students. She calmed down the agitating girls that things have been sorted out and the boys would be released soon.
Sujeta Seth told OKHLA TIMES: "My son was bleeding. A police official even threatened me." Most of the policemen at the station were unwilling to discuss the issue. They kept on saying: "Visit Jamia to know the story."
Arham, detained in the police station for more than 50 minutes, was hurt the most. According to protesting students, he was injured in the brawl between the police and the students. Though the injury was minor but the shock was immense. The students could not figure out why they were attacked when they did nothing wrong. Since May 7 they had adopted peaceful means to convince the University authorities. It appears that the University did all it could to forcibly end the protest, claimed a protester. But they failed as after an hour the detained students were released and the protest continued, he added.
In the police station after half an hour Shamsh (president of JMI Students’ Union) walked in with his more than five friends in white Kurta. Wearing a sunglass, he was trying to convince the protesting girls about the importance of patience. But he was ignored. A group of students claiming themselves to be from JMI started spreading rumours that the students were also responsible for the situation. One boy, who introduced himself as Adil student of MA, HRM, started dishing out different stories. However, when asked for more information, he left the spot in a rush. Was he working for the University administration as JOBA?
The way the administration handled the whole situation has angered many senior Jamia alumni living in the locality. One alumnus said on the condition of the anonymity: “The students had all the right to protest peacefully. The Vice Chancellor must have handled the situation properly as most of the protesters were girls.” But there was nobody from the University available for comment. Some ten Bulls (private security of JMI) were seen standing just a few meters from the spot where the students were on hunger strike.
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