Safoora Zargar threatened with expulsion; JMI acting ‘vengefully’ allege students

Safoora Zargar: Over half-a-dozen student organisations have demanded that Zargar, a PhD student at Jamia Millia Islamia, be given an extension.

Safoora Zargar threatened with expulsion; JMI acting ‘vengefully’ allege students Safoora Zargar(middle) accused the Jamia Millia Islamia administration of threatening her with expulsion (Twitter/SafoorZargar)
Team Careers360 | Aug 25, 2022 - 5:39 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Student organisations have accused Jamia Millia Islamia University administration of acting in an “arbitrary” and “vengeful” manner by threatening to cancel the admission of Safoora Zargar, a student activist who was jailed during the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.

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In a statement signed by over half a dozen organisations, students accused the Jamia Millia Islamia administration of ignoring “all humanitarian and legal grounds available” to grant Zargar extension to submit her MPhil dissertation.

The statement was signed by students organisations such as the All India Revolutionary Students Organisation (AIRSO), All India Students Association (AISA), Camus Front of India (CFI), Fraternity Movement, Muslim Students Federation (MSF), National Students' Union of India (NSUI), Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO)

On Wednesday, Zargar, on her Twitter, had accused the JMI administration of making her “run from pillar to post for extensions that are easily given to other scholars”. She also said that while University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted five extensions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she was only provided one despite her pregnancy and the disruptions caused by Covid-19. Zargar was arrested during the protests against CAA in April 2020. She was released from jail in June 2020.

The full statement by the student organisations below:

Safoora zargar, a women research scholar enrolled in an integrated M.phil/Phd program at the department of sociology, jamia millia islamia, is being threatened with cancellation of her admission. She enrolled in the programme in february 2019 and completed 3 years in February 2022. As per ordinances, she can be given an additional year of extension available to women scholars, which she has been denied on the grounds of unsatisfactory progress. Earlier, she has also been denied covid-19 extension which can be given to scholars in accordance with the norms laid down by the ugc as well as jamia millia islamia. Safoora's supervisor and the department has been hostile towards her requests terming her rightful requests as 'adamancy' and 'rudeness’. Her emails to the registrar and the VC have remained unanswered.

The student community strongly condemns this relentless harassment and unfair treatment of a research scholar who has also faced a brutal witch-hunt and smear campaign by the state after the CAA-NRC protest.

During the covid-19 pandemic, the students' community has faced tremendous disruptions research work came to a standstill as universities were shut down completely. keeping this in mind, the UGC has granted not one but five consecutive covid-19 extensions since 2020. this vengeful action against a women scholar who went through a pregnancy during the pandemic and still managed to do her fieldwork and complete all requirements of the course is highly condemnable instead of providing all possible support to such a woman scholar the department and the university has indulged in despicable behaviour and in the most unjust and vengeful actions, for reasons best known to the department and her supervisor.

It is clear that despite all humanitarian and legal grounds available to grant her extension and subsequently allow her to submit M.phil dissertation, the department is acting arbitrarily and revengefully. She is clearly being targeted for her political opinions and for her dissent in and outside the university.

We stand in full and unflinching solidarity with Safoora Zargar and demand that she be granted extension and allowed to submit her dissertation. The delay that has happened in granting her extension must also be condoned.

We reiterate that the student community, especially research scholars will not allow this injustice to take place under any circumstances. We also demand all the civil society, community, democratic groups to stand in solidarity with safoora zargar and come out against the department, and university's targeting of a research scholar.

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