Jamia Milia erupts in protests, police deny conducting raids

DELHI: Massive protests erupted in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia where students accused the police of profiling the university after local cops, dressed in civilian clothes,allegedly conducted ‘raids’ at the varsity’s premises on Saturday afternoon.

The varsity on Sunday saw scores of students gather in the campus area and raise slogans against the BJP government and local police. University officials on Sunday also seemed to be on an offensive and wrote to the Delhi Police demanding suitable action against the errant personnel. Delhi Police, on the other hand, claimed innocence and said ‘no such raids’ were conducted by its personnel. While officials had earlier denied the presence of police teams on campus, a senior police official on Sunday said some officers of Delhi police were sent to ‘meet someone’ in the university. Officials, however, did not elaborate on the exact purpose of police officials visiting the campus.

“We did not conduct any raids or searches. These are all rumours.We were supposed to meet someone on the campus,” said a senior police official posted in southeast Delhi.However the university officials, as well as protesting students did not seem to budge and released scathing statements against the police.

Mehtab Alam, Chief Proctor, JMI, in his letter to the DCP South East urged him to identify the police personnel involved in the incident and take suitable action against them. He further said that police staff should be advised to follow the instructions of the Chief Proctor on the university campus.

In a statement by the university, officials said, “Taking exception to the plainclothed Delhi Police personnel entering Jamia Millia Islamia premises without permission, the university authorities have written to Delhi Police demanding suitable action against the erring personnel. In a separate appeal to the students, the Dean of Students’ Welfare, Tasneem Meenai, informed them that no “raid’’ was conducted in the Hall of Residence for Boys by Delhi Police or Intelligence Bureau on Saturday. She said that the DCP South East has been requested to take suitable action against the defaulting police personnel. Appealing to the students to maintain calm on campus she said that “We should work constructively to protect the image of the university.”

While a section of Jamia’s administration maintained that no raids took place on the campus, protesting students on Sunday released an open letter through social media taking on the administration as well as the police. The students justified their protests and “vowed not to disperse from the main gate of the university as a mark of protest until the administration acts on the demands of the protesting students”.

“The protests erupted following the intrusion of Delhi Police personnel and some unknown people in plainclothes within the hostel premises. The proctor and the provost of the Boys hostel who visited the protesting students stated that they had no information about any such “surprise raid” as it is being reported by a section of the media. However, the same media reports are categorically mentioning that the Jamia administration says it was a routine exercise. The students who reside in the hostels are contradicting the administration’s claim of being in no knowledge of the so-called “surprise raids” as they were warned by their caretakers that there will be a raid or search soon,” read the open letter.

Latter in the evening, support for Jamia poured in from students of Jawahar Lal Nehru university (JNU), who joined the protest demonstration against Delhi Police. Umar Khalid, who was in February this year accused and jailed on sedition charges, and other student leaders of JNU, voiced their support for the protest at Jamia.