Protesting students say Jamia misleading on union election

New Delhi, (IANS) Striking students of the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) on Monday accused the administration of giving misleading statements on students’ union election at the university, saying there is no reason why the elections should not be held.

About 10 students are on a hunger strike on the university premises since October 25 demanding resumption of the students’ union election, which has not been held since 2006.

“Jamia administration is looking for an escape route by stating that the case regarding students’ union is sub-judice before the Delhi High Court,” a statement from the striking students said.

“…the reality is that in 2012, the Delhi High Court had asked the reason behind not conducting students’ union election on regular basis in university. At that stage, in 2012, Jamia administration had assured the Delhi High Court that there is no discomfort and objection regarding having students’ union election as well as an elected student body,” it added.

The university has cited pendency of a case — Hamidur Rahman vs JMI — before the Delhi High Court as a “legal hurdle” in allowing the students’ union election. It said since the matter was sub-judice, conducting election “will amount to contempt of Court”.

But, the students argued for the revival of union election, saying neither Rahman nor those nine students who through a writ petition had “impleaded…opposition of any direct system of elections” are students of the university anymore.

On October 28, the university also formed a five-member committee to “talk to students sitting on dharna” and clarified that in principle, it was in favour of election.

The Jamia Millia Islamia has not seen students’ union election since 2006 when its then Vice Chancellor Mushiral Hasan denied permission to hold polls.

The dissolution of the union was done following large-scale vandalism resorted to by a group of students led by the outgoing students’ union president. The ruckus had also led to an eight-day lockdown of the university then.

However, current Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmad on Monday appealed to the striking students to call off their protest and invited them for talks.

Medaram Jathara

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