Published: 14th October 2019
Jamia Milia protest: Students want show-cause notices against 5 protestors withdrawn
The students had organised a silent symbolic protest on October 5 to show their condemnation of the fact that Israel was a country partner for an event on campus
Several students from Jamia Millia Islamia are protesting against the show cause notice issued to five students on campus for holding a symbolic protest against Israeli delegates being invited for an event. Even though the protest happened on October 5, the students say they have been continuously harassed by the administration since then.
The students had organised a silent symbolic protest on October 5 to show their condemnation of the fact that Israel was a country partner for an event on campus. When the students began to plan demonstrations to protest the country's involvement, the administration changed their schedule two days before the event and claimed that only a few delegates from Israel will be present. "Ours was simply a symbolic protest to show that our University will not support Palestine's occupation and daily human rights violations. So about 20-25 of us sat at the stairs outside the auditorium for about one or two hours displaying our posters. We didn't make any noise or disrupt the event in any way at all, after we one or two hours, we left and went about our work," one of the students said.
A little while later, two students allegedly went near the auditorium to drink water and were detained by some guards and taken to the proctor's office. "Here the two were beaten up and manhandled by the guards and proctorial staff. One of them managed to call one of us and asked us to hurry to the office. When we went it was shut and the guards began to misbehave and manhandle us as well," a student said. When they were finally allowed inside, the students saw that the two students had been beaten by the guards and demanded an explanation. The proctor allegedly told them that everything was fine but assured the students that a fair enquiry would take place soon enough. "We were told that the CCTV images would be accessed and a proper enquiry would take place," a protester said.
Since the students were promised that a fair enquiry would take place, they left the office. But on Friday, to their surprise, five students received a show-cause notice that sought a response from them by Tuesday. In the show-cause notice, the administration states that the University recognises the right to dissent and therefore did not disturb the protest. But the students were also accused of not informing the college about the protest and did not get permission for the same.
"After a while, you along with other students shook the main gate violently and broke the lock and intimidated the guards. Thereafter you were invited to the committee room to talk but despite several requests, you shouted and hurled abuse on the proctorial staff," the notice said. The notice also accused the students of calling the deputy proctor a 'gunda'. "Instead of waiting for a fair inquiry, you have indulged in acts which have tarnished the images of Jamia," they added.
The students say it is unfair that they have only been given a couple of days to respond to the notice because universities should give a minimum of five days to reply to a notice. The administration has also made calls to the parents and guardians of the students and complained about them disturbing the peace on campus. "They are also moral policing us by calling our parents. They want to create fear, panic and put pressure on our parents, so that they will put pressure on us," a student said.
Bringing their parents into it really set the students off. "Why do they have to call our parents? Some of our family members are sick, have health issues. By making such calls to them and saying we are causing trouble and the VC is unhappy with them, that will put unnecessary pressure on them and put their health at risk," another student who has been slapped with the show cause notice said. The students said that all this harassment is also affecting their mental health and academics as well. "We are protesting here now and missing out on an entire day of classes," a protester said.
Despite the students having to submit their responses to the notice tomorrow, the students have decided that they will not reply. The Jamia students feel that if they respond to the notice, it would seem like they are in the wrong. "We have not done anything wrong. So we are protesting and demanding that they withdraw the notices," another added.
The protest started at 11 am this morning and the students have decided not to give up till their demands are met.