Published: 21st December 2019
Jamia VC concerned about rumours, releases first statement since police excesses
The students and members of the Jamia Coordination Committee put forward a list of seven demands but the administration said they will only reply to it in due course of time
The Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Najma Akhter, released an official statement on Friday, the first after the police action on the university students on December 15, stating her concerns about the rumours and misinformation being spread. She has also asked the entire student fraternity and the administration to stand together in these testing times. The students also demanded a museum to document this attack which they compare with the Jalianwallah Bagh massacre and also requested that the slogans should not be wiped out from the walls.
This comes right after the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) met the VC on December 19 and put forward a set of seven demands. "The VC maintained that she stood with the students of the university in this time of crisis and condemned the police action. The students condemned that no effort was made by the administration to reach out to the students and invite representatives for talks," read a statement from the JCC. The students demanded that the VC must release a statement in solidarity with the movement against the CAA which has emerged from Jamia Millia Islamia in "unequivocal words".
They also urged the university to file a strong case against the Delhi Police in "multiple cases of assault, molestation, torture, vandalism and sexual harassment". "The students were paraded out of the campus with their hands raised. We were shamed and humiliated. This state-sponsored terrorism on Jamia must be investigated. It must be questioned why expired tear gas shells were used. Evidence must be preserved. CCTV footages must be archived," the JCC demanded. "Those responsible must be dismissed and punished. In lieu of all these points, we have demanded that an enquiry commission be set up and the VC must ensure that it is set up at the earliest," they further added.
The administration was also urged to set up a team to deal with all affected students, whether injured, detained, families of missing students if any and all students against whom FIR has been "wrongly framed". "Financial aid must also be provided to these students, along with medical and legal aid. For this, the administration must call out to students with its machinery," they said emphasising that this must be done by the university administration, "We will support in every possible way. A press release must come from the VC with regard to this."
The students also demanded that the ‘Winter break’ must be called off. "Students must be called back. Hostels must reopen. Exams must be conducted. It is important to normalise the university in order for students to come out of this trauma. Counselling must be arranged for any student who wants help," they added. "We also demanded that the Jamia Coordination Committee must be given a space in the campus to operate from and the movement must intensify. We have appealed for unconditional support from the VC for the movement against CAA which will be sharpened from Jamia because as it has been said, ‘If you are not with us, you are against us’," they said.
The administration has refused to set a time-frame for their response and insisted that they will respond to our demands in ‘due time’.