Jamia students slam ‘outside’ protestors’ claim of discrimination on campus

After a protest march on May 8 against alleged “discrimination” against Hindu students” at Jamia Millia Islamia was organised by some ‘outsiders’, Hindu students said we face no discrimination at all

Photo courtesy: Noman/Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy: Noman/Wikimedia Commons

Vikrant Jha

After a protest march on May 8 against alleged “discrimination” against Hindu students” at Jamia Millia Islamia was organised by some ‘outsiders’, Hindu students of the prestigious university in Delhi protested with placards saying, “we are Hindu, and we face no discrimination in Jamia”.

“What was done on May 8, that too in the national capital, was completely political and had political backing,” a JMI student Aftab Ahmad told National Herald. “It was done to disrupt the peace in the campus and to break the Hindu-Muslim unity that JMI is known for,” said convener of Jamia Students’ Federation Meeran Haider to NH.

The very fact that the Hindu students have to clarify that they are safe in the campus, a JMI student from Department of Hindi told National Herald, is heart-breaking. “When I had arrived in Jamia, I had no money to even get myself food. It was a professor who happened to be from the Muslim community who offered me food and I survived,” recalled Chandan Kumar, who hails from Saharsa in Bihar.

While the Hindu students’ protest was mostly appreciated by the students/teachers community in Delhi, some quarters said that there was no need to pay ‘any heed to the protests by the disrupters’ and by holding placards, they too fell in the trap of debate of ‘Hindu-Muslim divide’ on the campus. Instead, the critics felt, they should have let it go and let their actions speak rather than holding placards.

But, said Kumar, it was necessary that a clarification is sent out, else the silence would have been portrayed differently. “If we had stayed silent now, many people including our parents, who are far away from the campus, may have felt that we are silent because we are scared to speak. The propaganda on May 8 was such that anyone would have such doubts. Hence, to assure everyone that we (non-Muslims) as safe in the campus, the students decided to put out a clarification.”

An Urdu Department professor from JMI told NH on condition of anonymity, “Holding the placards were also not necessary which was done as a reaction to what happened on Tuesday.” “All the students in any campus are just students, they are not Hindus, not Muslims, not Bengalis, not Biharis; they are all just students.”

What happened on Thursday, he added, makes all of us (at Jamia) very sad as it tries to malign the secular, unified culture of JMI. “Ours is a campus associated with the freedom movement. Gandhiji had appreciated the system at JMI,” he said, adding, “but sadly, a few people just try to portray the campus as a campus of religious discrimination which is utterly baseless and completely false.”

The May 8 protest was led by Rahul Tiwari, a post graduate student at the university, who called for the protest through a Facebook post, saying: “Jin bhi bandhuon ko Jinnah ka samarthan karnna hai ewam Jamia ke Hindu vidyarthi ko dhamkana hai, aaj se 6 baje Julena Evergreen Sweets aye, unki sutai ka poora bandobast rakh gaya hai,” (People, who are supporting Jinnah and threatening Hindu students at the university are requested to come to Evergreen sweets in Julena (near Jamia University) at 6 pm. We have made the preparations for their thrashing.)

Although most students on campus alleged that the protest was organised by RSS-affiliated student body Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Asif Aftab, secretary of ABVP at JMI, was quoted by media houses as saying, “We are unaware of such a rally being organised at the university and we condemn such an action. We are against any objectionable slogans which try to create a hostile situation at the university.”

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