It was a session that was meant to be off-limits for the press. But, intriguingly, it was largely devoted to ridiculing the uninvited.
The press and its reportage related to the arrests of Jamia Millia Islamia University students Mohammad Shakeel and Zia-ur-Rehman came under severe fire during Vice-Chancellor Mushirul Hasan’s address to the students on Wednesday.
The critique was well received by all, except for the uninvited reporters lurking in the audience.
In his passionate speech, Hasan lashed out at the media saying, “The press has never been here to cover any of our events or to highlight the institution at the time of celebration. Then why are they here now? They should be in Bihar, Karnataka and Orissa looking for real stories.”
Hasan said contrary to the what’s being reported, there’s absolutely no conspiracy happening here. “Yes, we were conspirators, but that was at the time of the freedom struggle. We’re proud of having played that role then,” he said.
“That apart, I fail to understand why offering legal aid to the two students is being blown out of proportion. Legal representation is every citizen’s right and I will not crucify my students unless proven guilty,” Hasan said, amidst a
Appreciating the discipline and restraint showed by the students, Hasan also announced that they would be rewarded with one-day holiday in the next week.
Later speaking to the media at a press conference, Hasan tagged the arrests of the students as “isolated incidents” and appealed to the press to not “politicise it” and “protect the secular nature of the institution”.