Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University students on February 11, 2021 unequivocally rejected the attendance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Chief Guest of the Centenary Convocation stating that “his ideas cross the line into hate speech and communalism.” Students demanded that the university administration uninvite the Prime Minister and stand with the arrested Jamia students.
“We demand Jamia administration to uninvite Prime Minister Modi and the Modi-regime unconditionally release arrested Jamia students along with all political prisoners,” said All India Students’ Association (AISA) members in a press release.
Students said that the Jamia administration has shown its “authoritarian and anti-student tendencies” by inviting Modi instead of standing with the arrested Jamia students in this moment of crisis and demanding an intervention for the same.
In response to students’ anger, restlessness and unhappiness with the workings of the Modi-regime, the AISA appealed to the Jamia community to reject the Modi government’s design of communalism, curbing dissent. It appealed to students to uphold the constitutional principles of secularism and justice.
AISA members said that the university has come under attack from the central government for many years. By arbitrarily inviting as the Chief Guest, they alleged, the university administration negated the history of the institution. Moreover, they warned that a failure to comply with the above-mentioned demands will force the organisation to boycott centenary convocation.
“We are witnessing an organised and calculated attack on the idea of JMI by the fascist state and politically inclined administration. Students have unequivocally rejected the invitation. Its acceptance would be a gross disregard of the legacy of our founding fathers, a brazen subversion of the nationalist spirit of Jamia Millia Islamia and the courage of our comrades who have been languishing in jail under UAPA for raising their voice against injustice,” said the AISA.
Earlier, the Delhi Police booked student activists Meeran Haider, Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha and AAJMI President Shifa Ur Rehman under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for dissenting against anti-student and Islamophobic state policies. The Jamia administration has remained silent on the incident.
The union went on to list further acts of violence against students such as Modi’s speech in February 2020, wherein he launched a scathing attack by saying, “Protests in Seelampur, Shaheen Bagh and Jamia over CAA are no coincidence but an experiment.” On January 30, 2020 a Godse Bhakt shot at JMI students marching towards Rajghat, injuring one student of the varsity. The firing came days after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Anurag Thakur gave inciting speeches, encouraging the crowd to shoot protestors. On December 15, 2019 – during anti-CAA protests – students were brutally lathicharged, tear gassed and library and reading rooms were vandalised.
Significantly AISA pointed out that Modi has still not apologised for his speech in 2008 after the fake Batla House encounter where he claimed the university “publicly announced that it will foot the legal fee of terrorists involved in the act. Go drown yourself. This Jamia Millia is being run on government money and it is daring to spend money on lawyers to get terrorists out of jail. When will this vote bank politics end?”
Students said Modi must apologise for this statement about the university.
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