'Influence of Outside Powers’: Jamia Student on Notice Over Zargar Protest

The university issued show-cause notices to multiple students who participated in the protests.

3 min read
Hindi Female

Weeks after cancelling her MPhil admission and removing her as a student, Jamia Millia Islamia banned research scholar and activist Safoora Zargar from entering the university campus.

Moreover, the university issued show-cause notices to multiple students who participated in protests demanding that Zargar be re-admitted and given an extension to submit her thesis.

The university called the students' actions “a gross violation of Jamia’s rules and regulations, and viewed separately by the Jamia authorities. Therefore, you are hereby directed to explain in writing why disciplinary action should not be taken against you.”

The Quint spoke to some of these students. One told us he was given less than 24 hours to respond to the show cause notice, while another said he wasn't even present at the protests.


‘Whatever Answer We Have Isn't Going To Be Satisfactory'

Dibya Jyoti Tripathi, a student at Jamia's Department of Economics, said that while the notice that came from the proctor was issued on 14 September, the email itself came on 15 September at 6:45 pm and students were supposed to send their responses by 16 September 5 pm, in less than 24 hours.

"In the name of natural justice, we were not given enough time by the administration to even respond to the notice," the student told The Quint, blaming "outside powers" for trying to influence the university into quashing dissent.

"The administration has increasingly highlighted its partial nature. This whole crackdown is mainly due to some outside powers that are constantly trying to influence the administration and succeeding in thwarting dissent whenever there is a whiff of an organised protest by the student committee."
Dibya Jyoti Tripathi, a student at Jamia's Department of Economics

Tripathi said that the administration is pinpointing people and sending notices to whoever is trying to exercise their right to dissent, where the Jamia constitution itself does not condemn protesting or dissent of any form.

"The action that the administration will take is going to be ex parte and has already been decided no matter what our response is. Whatever answer we have is not going to be satisfactory since we are not at all apologetic about our involvement in the protest."
Dibya Jyoti Tripathi, a student at Jamia's Department of Economics

"We wanted to register our opposition in whatever way we could. A discipline committee will probably be set up against us soon to take a decision since the administration is fearful of any political agitations by the students of the university, especially with regard to Safoora’s case as the student committee has time and again questioned the decision taken regarding her admission cancellation,” he said.

‘I Was Not Even a Part of the Protest'

Another student, who wished to remain unnamed, said he has been sent a show cause when he was not even amongst those who were protesting.

“I was not even a part of the protest and yet a show cause notice has been sent to me based on some video or picture they have of me being present at the protest site," he told The Quint.

"I have gone to the Proctor and made him aware of this lapse and he had no backing for these claims that I was a part of the protest. He has assured me that my show-cause will be revoked but there has been no update so far regarding this.”
An anonymous Jamia student

Zargar was booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or the UAPA, in April 2020 in connection with the Delhi riots. She was granted bail on humanitarian grounds in June 2020 – she was pregnant at the time.

On 24 August this year, Zargar spoke about how Jamia is threatening to cancel her MPhil admission. She had tweeted, “Since December 2021, I have been made to run from pillar to post for extensions that are easily given to other scholars in the university. I have faced severe abuse at the hands of my supervisor and my department."

Days later, on 29 August, the university cancelled her admission, saying she didn't submit her MPhil dissertation "within the maximum stipulated time of five semesters plus an additional semester of COVID extension (6th semester) that was also given to her, which ended on 6th February 2022."

She has now been banned from the campus for "instigating innocent students of the University and trying to use the University platform for her malafide political agenda alongwith some other students."

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