VC upholds legal shield for pupils
Vice-Chancellor OF Jamia Millia Islamia Mushirul Hasan said the university’s move to offer legal help to two of its students held as terror suspects should not be viewed as a “fight back” or “struggle”, reports Zia Haq.delhi Updated: Sep 23, 2008 23:44 IST
Vice-Chancellor OF Jamia Millia Islamia Mushirul Hasan on Tuesday said the university’s move to offer legal help to two of its students held as terror suspects should not be viewed as a “fight back” or “struggle”.
The two students in terror net — Mohammad Shakeel, a second-year MA student, and Zia-Ur-Rehman, a final-year BA student — are being described by Delhi Police as part of the Indian Mujahideen module that carried out explosions in several cities.
“As vice-chancellor, I am their guardian. It is my duty to offer them legal assistance to ensure their rights for a free and fair trial,” Hasan said. It’s also a question of Jamia’s 80-year-old blotless reputation, he added.
Asked if he feared that the students had been wrongly accused, Hasan, a leading academician, said: “They very young college-goers and may not have access to legal recourse. Unless proven guilty, they cannot be declared terrorists.”
Hasan said he did not wish to comment on the police raid on the “terror hideout” in Jamia that has kicked up swirling allegations from residents.
“We don’t want to come in the way of the judicial process or the police. But we will ensure that rule of law prevails,” Hasan said.
He said he did not personally know the students but collected their details after their arrests.
Hasan said the way things were “panning out” presented a derogatory view of the institution, originally set up at Aligarh in 1920 before becoming a Central University by an act of Parliament in 1988.
In 1935, the foundation stone for the present building was laid at Okhla, a village on the southern fringes of Delhi.