Skip to main content

Denial of right to continue study to student-activist 'contradicts' the idea of Jamia

Counterview Desk 

Over 150 feminist activists, individuals and groups have come together to appeal to the Vice Chancellor and Faculty Committee of the Jamia Millia Islamia to revoke the cancellation of student-activist Safoora Zargar’s admission, and to allow her to submit her MPhil thesis. Safoora acquired prominence during the anti-Citizenship Ammendment Act (CAA) protests that rocked Delhi in early 2020.
In custody from 10 April until 24 June 2020, Safoora was accused of being part of a conspiracy to cause riots, of making an inflammatory speech, and of being involved in a "sinister design" with the "objective of uprooting a democratically elected government." She was granted bail by the Delhi High Court and released on 24 June 2020.
The statement, floated by the civil rights group Saheli Women's Resource Centre, says, the cancellation of Safoora's admission comes despite the fact that extensions have been granted unconditionally to research scholars en masse by the UGC because of the havoc wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21. First she was asked to apply for an extension specifically for women scholars, but now she has even been denied that on the grounds that her work is ‘unsatisfactory.’
"This is in direct contradiction to earlier evaluations where she was told that she had 'made good headway' with her research", the statement says, underlining, "The bedrock of Jamia Millia Islamia has always been dialogue and progressive politics, Safoora’s values belong to that progressive idea of the university as an intellectual space. To deny her education in that very university seems to go against the fundamental values of such an esteemed institution."

Text:

We, the undersigned women’s rights activists and women’s groups, are dismayed at the denial of the routine extensions to Safoora Zargar to complete her MPhil degree.
Safoora needs no introduction. She is a student activist who gained prominence during the anti-CAA movement, and has been targeted for standing up for the right to peaceful protest and dissent, as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Instead of standing by her through what have been several extremely challenging years for Safoora, and supporting her to finish her degree, the university has systematically denied her the rights routinely extended to all other students.
All women have to struggle in a brahminical patriarchal society to access education, the struggle increases manifold when the woman belongs to a marginalised community which has been increasingly under attack by the State. While the persecution of the Muslim community in India is making international headlines, Indian society and the State continue to deny it, on the one hand, and enable increased intolerance and discrimination, on the other. Being a Muslim woman activist who stood for the constitutional rights of not only her community but also of society, Safoora has suffered incarceration and multiple attacks, both politically and personally. The horror of what tomorrow might bring for her, continues to haunt her at every moment.
To add to her suffering, Jamia Millia has denied extensions to complete her degree in the Department of Sociology. These have been granted unconditionally to research scholars en masse by the UGC because of the havoc wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21. Since the universities and departments were shut down, and access to libraries closed off, all research scholars were granted multiple extensions. Yet Safoora was deemed ineligible for more than one extension without any legitimate justification.
She was subsequently asked to apply for an extension specifically for women scholars. Now she has even been denied that on the grounds that her work is ‘unsatisfactory.’ This is in direct contradiction to earlier evaluations where she was told that she had “made good headway” with her research and that she had “identified the categories and concepts through which to articulate (her) research topic”.
A Muslim woman who stood for constitutional rights, Safoora has suffered incarceration and multiple attacks politically and personally
It is commendable that Safoora has managed to meet work deadlines through her pregnancy, incarceration and childbirth, despite the severe mental duress she is undergoing as someone being prosecuted on unfair grounds. We fail to understand why her repeated pleas and rightful asks have gone unanswered, and why she is being discriminated against when extensions have been approved by the UGC and have been provided to all research scholars across the board. The discrimination shown by the department and the university adds to the violence that she has already been through, and continues to undergo in both online and offline spaces.
Education is not only about degrees, but about learning, growing, and nurturing of minds. However, we are all too aware that universities have routinely functioned as spaces of exclusion, be it by way of caste, gender, class, religion, sexuality or any other marginalised identity. The bedrock of Jamia Millia Islamia university has always been dialogue and progressive politics, Safoora’s values belong to that progressive idea of the university as an intellectual space. To deny her education in that very university seems to go against the fundamental values of such an esteemed institution.
Today, after all her attempts to seek fair treatment were denied within the Sociology department, Safoora has petitioned the Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia University, for justice.
We unequivocally stand with her and join our voices to her appeal to the Vice Chancellor and the faculty committee to revoke the cancellation of her admission and grant her the rightful extension as a woman scholar and allow her to submit her thesis and complete the requirements of her MPhil degree.
This grave injustice on Safoora Zargar must be undone immediately.
---
Click here for signatories

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i