Guest Post by Jamia Millia Islamia Students
What exactly happened in Jamia Millia Islamia on 13th August?
The sequence of events:
Just two days before Independence Day, all the hostel residents were informed personally by the administrative authorities to be careful as there may be some raid by IB or CBI or Delhi Police. Students were instructed not to keep any non-resident student in the hostel.
While it is okay to instruct students not to keep any non-resident student in the hostel, what is problematic is the atmosphere of fear that was created among students. Many of the students were told to be careful regarding ‘KASHMIRI STUDENTS’ in particular.
The hostel authorities repeatedly instructed the students not to come out of their rooms and to be careful.
On the 13th of August, at around 3 p.m., two police constables in uniform and around 15-20 officials in plain clothes were seen sitting just outside the hostel gate. Two constables came inside the gate and started having conversation with the guards while around 10 officials were sitting in their cars inside the hostel campus.
A few students approached the constables and asked why they were there. The constables told them that they had been in the campus for a long time.
Then students went to the cars and asked the plainclothes policemen the reason for their visit. The students gathered near one of the cars. Initially the police told us that they were there because it was raining outside.
On further probing, they said that they had permission from the University Proctor to enter the university premises. Then the Proctor was called and he entered the campus premises from Hostel ‘A’ Campus where many students were allegedly asked questions by the Police and few rooms were checked. The police clicked pictures and also recorded videos. The students asked questions regarding the necessity of such raids in the hostels. Students started questioning the Proctor, Prof. Mehtab Alam, and the two provosts, Prof. Haroon Sajjad and Prof. Iqtidar Mohd. Khan. The Proctor initially denied having granted any permission. But then he told us that the police officials were only given permission to stand outside the Gate No. 4 (Gate No. 4 is the first entry gate towards the boys hostel and is on the main road). On learning that the police had overstepped their permitted limit, the students asked for unconditional apology from the police.
But the University Administration aided them in leaving quietly, without explaining their overreach and unwarranted presence to the students. It is shocking that the campus autonomy is being trampled upon in this manner. It is because of the corrupt practices of the University administration that they cannot stand up to the government and the police, which is shielding their corrupt activities.
As the news about unauthorised raids spread, Jamia students gathered at the University Main Gate and staged a protest which is still going on. The University Administration came and tried to disperse the students with fake promises and rhetoric but students refused to budge without having their demands met. Below are the major demands of the Jamia Student community:
- A Press Conference by the University Administration stating clearly whether they gave the permission to Delhi police/ Intelligence agencies and, if yes, on what basis?
- Suspension of administrative officials who failed to stop the Police from entering the University premises.
- No action like show cause notice against the students participating in the ongoing protest in any implicit or explicit manner.
Role of the Administration:
The Dean Student’s Welfare (DSW) recently issued a notice stating that “no raid was conducted by the Intelligence Bureau / Delhi police in the boys’ residence hall on August 13th, but the very next paragraph is contradictory as it says that, “Four Delhi Police personnel in plain clothes entered the university without his (Proctor’s) permission”.
We, the students of Jamia, do not want the core issue to be deviated over technicalities of terminology. For us, it was a raid, a breach of our autonomy and dignity, and that is what has pushed us into this outrage. The fact that police personnel entered the campus without due permission, checked the cars in the campus, engaged in videography and created an atmosphere of terror, can only be termed as raid and nothing else. We demand an enquiry into the whole matter. If at all there was some concern, the wardens could have initiated a process to investigate the same, and resolve the matter at the level of the University. This logic of allowing the police into the campus even for a ‘routine check-up’ feeds into the standard stereotyping of all Muslims as terrorist and the argument that such places should be under constant surveillance!
Secondly, the claim made by the administration that the police present on 13th August was only in plain clothes is half-truth. There are pictures clicked by the students (attached) that police personnel were present in uniforms as well and were carrying arms. In fact, that is how students got to know about the raid.
Thirdly, the Proctor in front of the students accepted that he allowed the police to stand in front of gate no. 4 but later on the notice issued by the students speaks a different language and feigns a complete ignorance of the police taking rounds of the hostel.
Fourthly and lastly, we also want to bring to the fore a notice dated 22nd January 2016, brought out by the Security Centre of Jamia Millia Islamia stating-
“1. It is needless to mention that educational institutions in general and Jamia Millia Islamia in particular is a very soft target for the militants/ separatists. Security personnel deployed in the university have been apprised of this fact and briefed in detail to re-strengthen the security at and around university premises. However, unarmed security guards of Jamia Millia Islamia may not be in position to fight effectively with militants heavily equipped with sophisticated weapons. The security guards will put some resistance if the situation so arises and will also act as early warning elements.
2. It may not be out of place to mention that secretary, UGC vide his DO/No. F1-11/2014 (CPP-II) dated 16th April 2015 addressing of the Vice-chancellors of all universities issued details guidelines on, safety of students on/off campus of higher education institutions.” [sic]
It is really shameful to see the kind of attitudes and beliefs harboured by the University Security officials toward the students and the University culture. If at all there are any concerns, these can be addressed only by making the students stakeholders in their own security. On the other hand, what we have is a very hostile attitude of the security personnel toward students. Security personnel are alienated from the students, and they are specially instructed to harass the students and put them under surveillance.
We believe that these “routine” police visits are actually part and parcel of the stereotyping of our University in particular and the Jamia locality in general. It’s shameful that the administration allowed the police to enter the University premises without properly asking for the grounds for such a visit. We believe that, as bona fide students of Jamia, we are entitled to security and the responsibility for the same lies with the university administration. We have seen how members of the Dalit and minority communities are falsely implicated in criminal and terrorist cases, and framed without evidence. It is the responsibility of the Jamia administration to ensure that no Jamia student is turned into fodder for Islamophobic propaganda, ahead of crucial junctures such as Independence Day and, in the larger picture, ahead of the UP elections. We students can’t be kept under constant surveillance and made scapegoats for anti-minority propaganda.