“Mr. Modi and his party have seen every Jamia student as a potential terrorist…”
November 28, 2015
November 27, 2015: A large number of former students of Jamia University in Delhi wrote to the Vice Chancellor, asking him to withdraw the invitation to PM Narendra Modi to be the Chief Guest at the university’s annual convocation. They pointed out that Mr. Modi and his party have said that Jamia protects terrorists, and projected every student and ex-student of Jamia as a potential terrorist.
Here is the full text of the letter to the Vice Chancellor:
Professor Talat Ahmad,
Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
(Copy to the Registrar)
We, the ex-students of Jamia Millia Islamia, are writing to you to express our deep anguish and grief on your invitation to Mr. Narendra Modi to be the chief guest at annual convocation. We are anguished and shocked because he, along with his party members, has been constantly involved in spreading rumours and hatred about Jamia Millia Islamia.
Let us share with you a video of September 2008 (it can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKrvvcr8fss) of Mr. Modi, in which he can be clearly seen misleading people during an election rally in Gujarat. We say, “rumours and hatred” because, his implied claim that, by providing legal aid to its students accused of being terrorists, Jamia is protecting terrorists, is nothing but a bunch of lies and totally based on the intention to target a particular community (do we need to name it?) and defame Jamia.
The simple fact is that, public or Jamia money, as claimed by Mr. Modi and his party members, was never used for providing legal aid to the students, who are yet to be proved guilty of anything, forget about the charge of terrorism. Jamia records will tell you that, if any money was used towards legal aid for the students, it was money from student welfare fund and amount collected by the students from the people of Jamia Nagar.
As far as the statement and stand by then VC and his act of standing by its students are concerned, we firmly believe that it was the need of hour and by doing so he only fulfilled his duty as the vice chancellor of the University. It was a very courageous and prudent step on his part. We can say so with a great degree of confidence because many of us were students or fresh graduates of Jamia at that point of time and there was a vicious campaign going on to tarnish the image of Jamia.
This led to an environment, where every student of Jamia or its ex-student was seen with suspicion of being a potential terrorist. To understand the gravity of the situation, we would request you to go through the archives of newspapers, magazines and news bulletins of that time apart from the convocation address of 2008, delivered by late U R Ananthamurthy.
Believe us, had the then vice chancellor, Professor Mushirul Hasan not taken the stand he took and to which Mr. Modi is referring in his speech, the situation would have even been worse. Moreover, despite clarifications from Jamia authorities, Mr. Modi never apologized for misleading people. Not only that, his party and its prominent members (not ‘fringe elements’) vilified Jamia and still continue doing so to further their divisive agenda. You may recall that in December 2008 Delhi assembly elections, BJP put out an advisement with the title "Jamia University funds to defend terror accused". This, despite the fact that the then VC made it clear time and again that it is not true.
We remember that none less than the Election commission taking notice of it and stating, "The Vice Chancellor of the Jamia University has categorically stated that no fund of the institute was being used for the alleged purpose and that the students of the University were themselves raising funds," the EC said. But even that did not put an end to the vilification campaign against Jamia. Last year, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, BJP senior leader, V K Malhotra said, “Jamia, Batla safe houses for terrorists”.
Sir, we can share with you many such statements and instances through which they have tried to defame Jamia on regular basis. We wonder what message you want to convey by inviting the person who has been part of all this. You may argue that, we have not invited him as a member of a particular party but as the Prime Minster of India. You are right, but partially. Because today none other than Mr. Modi is the face of the party and the government. I am sure, you have heard of the slogan, “Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar”.
We have a very simple request to you, withdraw the invitation because given Mr. Modi’s track record, he does not deserve to address annual convocation. Or at least ask him to render a public apology about his own malicious and incorrect statement before he attends the convocation.
Looking forward to a positive response.
Asad Ashraf, (B.A( H) Eco 2007-10, MA in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution 2012-14)
Mahtab Alam, (Jamia School: 2001-2003, BA (H) Economics: 2005-08)
Samarth Pathak (MA Human Rights and Duties: 2008-10