BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
New Delhi: About 10 students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), most of them girls, were manhandled by the Delhi Police men along with the varsity guards early this evening. Ironically, the university administration was nowhere to be found. Four students with two girls were beaten mercilessly by the police. Later, they were taken to AIIMS Trauma Centre for medical treatment.
Around 30-40 students of famous AJK Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC), JMI, have been sitting on hunger strike since May 7 demanding that they be allowed to sit for their annual examinations. They have been denied for appearing in the examinations because of shortage of attendance. Majority of the protesting students, who have attendance percentage between 65 to73, have been denied medical relaxation of 15% in the mandatory 75% attendance.
Notably, around 200 students have not been permitted to appear in their final examination only because they fell short in required percentage of attendance.
The students had produced medical certificates issued from different renowned hospitals and doctors across the country, but the university rejected the certificates, terming them forged and fake. The students allege that the varsity is unduly strict with them while bending its rules for several others.
It all started at around 4 p.m. to 4:30 pm. when agitating students had decided to shade themselves from the scorching sun using a bed spread as a make shift tent. At this point, the Bulls (private security guards of the university) intervened, roughed up the students and forcefully snatched away the bed spread.
The police, which was a mute observer, then jolted into action and called their extra hands. Satyaveer Dagar, station house officer (SHO) of Jamia Nagar police station, reached the spot and personally beat the students, of which most were girls and women. The women were shoved and scratched. One of the girls, not even a university student, was so badly scratched that she bean to bleed. Three boys were also injured and bleeding because of the forcefulness and beating by the police. He even assaulted one student’s mother and threatened to beat her up as well. There was no lady police present. He then forcefully put away five students into the PCR van and hurried away from the spot.
The spot where the students were agitating was completely destroyed. The police made sure that all the banners and plaques were torn and thrown away. At the police station, no one was allowed to meet the detained students. The police also refused to file a first information report (FIR). The students, however, were let off after a period of three hours.
When BeyondHeadlines contacted the SHO and enquired about the incidents, he denied saying that no such incident took place. When this correspondent cross questioned him that he had personally met the students in blood strained torn clothes and with several scratches on their body, he angrily reacted and replied “if you have met the students and rely on them, write whatever they have told. I don’t have anything to say,” and hanged up the call.
Talking to BeyondHeadlines, Jamia Proctor Masood Alam also echoed the SHO’s comment. “No report of lathi charge and manhandling has been reported. As per the varsity regulations, it is necessary for the students to have 75% students. They have not been allowed to sit in the examination because they did not fulfill the required criteria. Even the Delhi High Court has rejected their case,” the proctor argued.
JMI Media Coordinator Simi Malhotra said: “As it is a holiday, I am not aware of any development.” Earlier, the authorities have taken a stand that they would not reverse their decision as the High Court has already rejected students’ petition. Ironically, no representative of Jamia Old Boys’ Association (JOBA) was present at the spot.
Surprisingly, also no one on behalf of the university administration was seen at the spot.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Data Ram, who was present at the spot, informed BeyondHeadlines that he would investigate the incident and take proper action against the police official found guilty. “I have allowed students to continue their peaceful protest and have assured them to provide police security. Six constables along with an inspector will be here to ensure the students’ security.”
When asked on whose order the police action was carried out, surprisingly, he said that he had no information in this regard.
Several attempts to contact Jamia Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jang failed as he did not pick up the phone.
Condemning the incident, Manisha Sethi, president, Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA), an independent Jamia teachers body, has said: “We are of the firm belief that university campuses cannot be run like cantonments. The administration cannot engage with its students—whether it believes their demands justified or not—through the police, nor can it take away the democratic right to peacefully protest.”
As of now, the students are back on the strike and have refused to end the indefinite hunger strike against the university. They have filed a complaint against the police. So has the assaulted mother of one of the students. All of this happened exactly at the time, when the M.A. Mass Communication entrance aspirants were about to finish their exam and leave the university. The students claim: “This seems like a set up by the department to distract the agitating students who planned on letting the aspirants know the real picture of the MCRC.”