By Yasmeen Khan, MM
New Delhi : Students of Jamia Millia Islamia university continue to protest against Professor Hafeez Ahmad, Head of Department of Applied Arts, against alleged sexual harassment, intimidation of students and regionalism.
Many students have accused Ahmad of sending unsolicited text messages to the female students mostly non-Muslims.
“We want justice. Our HoD has been alleged of sexually harassing several students. Many more are turning up,” said one girl student leading the protest.
Another student wishing not to be named said that ‘the harassment is directed at non Muslims’.
Cases of discrimination meted out to Kashmiri students by the HoD have also surfaced.
Meanwhile, the university administration has sent Professor Hafeez Ahmad, HoD, Applied Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts on leave. The Dean of Faculty of Fine Arts Professor Nuzhat Kazmi has been appointed as the officiating HoD of Applied Arts.
Since February 1, the students of Fine Arts have been protesting against Ahmed accusing him of sexual harassment.
On 7th Feb, there were also complaints raised by protesting students against three male students of Faculty of Fine Arts for harassment. The University administration said “The action has been initiated against them,” adding “Pending the decision of the Disciplinary Committee, they are hereby suspended with immediate effect from the University and debarred from entering the Campus and attending the classes for two weeks.”
University Administration has also assured protesting students that all their demands will be looked into. As per a statement by the University “Selection committee of guest teachers will be held to meet the shortage of teachers in the Department of Applied Arts. Classes in the Department of Applied Arts and other departments of Faculty of Fine Arts are running as usual.”
“University administration spoke to protesting students several times and listened to their grievances and assured all possible efforts for the redressal of their grievances.
Despite the action taken by the university administration some of the students gheraoed the Vice Chancellor’s office yesterday and today also, affecting the functioning of the VC office situated in main administrative block of the University. Students are allowed to protest at the designated area near Ghalib statue situated in front of gate no. 7 of the University.
The protesting students are being misled by other factions who are not stake holders and backed by certain vested elements who want to destabilise the peaceful academic environment of the university,” reads the statement.
Meanwhile in a shocking statement Jamia Teachers’ Association (JTA) has slammed ‘a one-sided decision’ of the university to send one teacher on leave and suspending three students. “This decision is purely taken in a haste under the pressure of few students who are taking support from outsiders also. University has taken this decision without conducting any inquiry and also without taking approval from any university body,” reads a statement issued by JTA.