Silencing dissent on Jamia campus dictator style?
OT, October 4, 2012 05:00 IST
Okhla Times Campus Reporter/JMI
Concerned about the deteriorating situation in the Northeast, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) students and some of its officials took out a march on Wednesday in the campus. On that occasion, JMI Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jung says “Violation of human rights is a combination of communalism, casteism, regionalism and lack of respect for law. Universities like Jamia must sensitize their students to be at the forefront of understanding and helping resolve these issues.”
Besides, a three-day workshop was also held to sensitive students about human rights violations in the northeastern region. It is a welcome move and many students appreciated it.
But at the same some students have questioned the university’s track record in handling dissent on the campus. It is an emergency like situation with the authorities hell-bent on silencing protesting students by all means, according to a student, who don’t want to be identified for fear of retribution.
Students being treated as criminals
It has been reported that some 25 students who participated in peaceful protest a few days ago over mess fee hike have been issued show-cause notice a copy of which is in possession of OKHLA TIMES.
The notice issued on October 3 carries signature of Professor Tabrez Alam Khan, provost and addressed to students personally.
Show-cause notice issued
Many students on the campus are deeply upset over the development as they term authorities way of tackling the matter autocratic and fascist.
“There was no violence during the protest and hence where is the question of punishing students or issuing show-cause notice. In a democratic society people are not punished for airing dissent voice,” says a student on the condition of anonymity.
Some students are scared and don’t want to get their names in print. A student called OKHLA TIMES this morning to say how university authorities were pressurizing students not to participate in protest. “This morning a meeting was called in the Polytechnic department of representatives where students were warned of consequences if they participated in the protest over fee hike. They have been told to report at about 1 PM so that their movement could be monitored. Besides, university security bulls are out on the road to identify students who participate in the meeting. I don’t know why the authorities are using such tactics. Under the Indian Constitution we have rights to express ourselves peacefully and here I find that the right too is being crushed. But we will continue our protest and want the university to hold students’ union election so that students voice is not stifled,” she said over phone.
The AISA that has called the protest march fears that if Jamia students don’t turn up then their efforts would fail to yield positive results. Some students are blaming university officials for willfully adopting ways to flop the protest.
Not pressurizing students: Proctor
Students voice stifled
He said though mess fee hike has been rolled back, authorities continue to mentally harass students for their hunger strike and speaking to the media.
“Senior officials visited hostel room and asked students uncomfortable questions. Also, whenever we go out our identity cards are being checked. It is happening so regularly as if we get a feeling that we are living in a jail not a hostel,” says a student requesting anonymity.
Journalist roughed up
Nisar Khan said: “Not only the bulls treated me shabbily but even some senior university staff. They mishandled me and snatched my memory card so as the photos could not be published. Till now I haven’t got it back. Yesterday I was asked to give a written apology. I have declined to do so. The officials should apologize for stopping a journalist from doing his duty.”
The ill treatment of a journalist by Jamia staff has angered many Urdu journalists in the locality.
CAPTION: A copy of the show-cause notice issued to protesting hostel students by the university
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