NEW DELHI – The Jamia Millia Islamia University administration served notices on three students seeking explanation on an allegation of making disrespectful comments about the Prime Minister and university vice-chancellor (V-C) on social media.
According to a report appearing in the media, the students had questioned the silence of V-C Najma Akhtar over the arrest of university students by the Delhi Police in connection with the violence that shook Delhi amidst anti-CAA protests.
The report said that the students had posted the comments on Facebook and Instagram pages which now have been deleted.
Chief Proctor Waseem Ahmed Khan, on Monday, sent a notice which read, “A few anti-social elements have posted some offensive, indecent… content about the Prime Minister of India on social media platforms… dragging Jamia and its administration.”
Criticising the “baseless allegations against the Jamia administration”, the notice said the students had violated the university rules.
The report quoted one of the students, Mohammad Haris, claiming that he had no connection with ‘jamiatimes1’, a page on Instagram, for which he had got the notice. “I run a different page where I did post the same picture. But, a Jamia official asked me to delete it, which I promptly did,” the BSc student said.
In his reply to the proctor, Haris claimed those who made the alleged remarks “had no connection with me”.
“The students wrote wrong things against Jamia authorities, the VC and the PM. This is not freedom of speech and students should not do it,” The Time of India quoted the proctor as saying.
In December 2019 when Indian government passed the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Jamia Millia University emerged a bastion for protests as students hit the streets. As the police dealt with the protesting students with brute force the agitation took the form of a national citizens’ movement in which women played a lead role.
Consequently, Shaheen Bagh became a symbol of the nationwide women’s stir inspiring a number of indefinite sit-ins across the towns and cities of the country in support of the demand for revocation of the discriminatory law.
However, with the announcement of Coronavirus lockdown the protest sit-ins had to be suspended. But, taking advantage of the lockdown, the government initiated police action against the activists; include students from Jamia Millia, by arresting and detaining them under fabricated charges.
Human rights defenders have denounced the police action and demanded immediate release of the jailed activists.