Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

Attendance dips at Jamia Milia depts as two Muslim students arrested on terror charges

Posted by jagoindia on September 29, 2008

Attendance hit in Jamia depts
Irena Akbar
Sep 26, 2008 at 0007 hrs IST

New Delhi, September 25 Following the arrest of two Jamia Millia Islamia students — Mohammad Shakeel and Zia-ur-Rehman — for their alleged involvement in the recent serial blasts, the university has seen a steep fall in the attendance of students in its Urdu, Arabic and Islamic Studies departments.

Professor I M Khan of the Islamic Studies department and a member of the university’s Academic Council said the attendance had fallen to just about 25 per cent of what it was before September 13 — the day the encounter at Jamia Nagar left two suspected terrorists, including Atif who too was a Jamia student, dead.

“In my class, just about 15 of the 50 students attend lectures now,” he said, pointing out that the shortage was unusual considering the fact that attendance had always been higher during Ramzan when “students don’t indulge in frivolous activities such as idling at coffee kiosks or bunking classes to catch a movie”. “They have either been called back by worried parents or asked to vacate accommodations by insecure landlords,” said Prof Khan.

The attendance shortage is specific to the three faculties. Prof Ravindran Gopinath’s History department has seen no dip in the number of students. “Almost all students of Urdu, Arabic and Islamic Studies are Muslims. Secondly, many of them belong to eastern UP, which is getting a bad name as most of the arrested suspects belong to Azamgarh,” he said. Attendance has also been unaffected in the Architecture department, according to lecturer Ayla Khan.

Prof Farhana Siddiqui of the Arabic department said: “Even though the university has a predominantly Muslim enrolment, students of my department fit the stereotypical terror suspect profile — beard, a skull cap and chaste Urdu.” She said only five students were attending her class that had a strength of 55.

Faculty members are now busy counselling traumatised students, especially boys. “Students are complaining that while their Jamia I-cards earlier helped them use Internet cafés and public libraries, the very same cards now work against them. We are telling them to focus on studies, forget the heavy police presence, and avoid the media,” said Gopinath. Students, they said, were now not stepping out after 7 pm.

The fear was palpable during the peace march organised by Jamia on Thursday. There was no slogan shouting. Most students refused to speak to the media and instead expressed themselves through placards that read, for instance, “Why can’t Sonia visit Jamia in bad times like she visited DU” and “Islam condemns violence”.

A few of them, however, did speak up. “We are with Shakeel and Zia till they are proven guilty in the court of law,” said a B.Tech first-year student from Bihar, pleading anonymity. Another student, who even refused to reveal his department, said: “This university was founded by freedom fighters. It is now being branded as a hub of traitors. We want to correct that image.”

The procession included the alumni too. IT engineer Samia Bashirduddin skipped office to be a part of the march. “Being an alumnus of a university whose image has taken a beating puts me under the radar too,” she said. The university is reaching out to the residents of the area too. “Every one in Jamia Nagar is associated with the university in one way or the other. We have to be there for them,” said Professor Archana Prasad of the Centre for Jawaharlal Nehru Studies.

Gopinath defended the university’s decision to use UGC funds for providing legal aid to the arrested students. “There is nothing wrong in helping the two till a judicial probe proves them guilty.” Prof I M Khan said: “We are also telling the landlords who are turning away students for want of documents to check up with our proctor office for verification.”

Prof Prasad said: “Some of my students come from the families of landless labourers in Kerala. They are all here to build their future. The media and the police shouldn’t destroy their dreams.”

One Response to “Attendance dips at Jamia Milia depts as two Muslim students arrested on terror charges”

  1. Beena said

    These people are simply projecting themselves as victims. If they are not involved in any nefarious activities, why should they fear the police? The comments are designed to project an image of alleged police brutality on allgedly innocent students.

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