NEW DELHI: After Delhi University, protests demanding re-opening of universities reached the Jamia Millia Islamia as members of the Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) on Wednesday held a protest outside one of the varsity gates, asking authorities why Jamia couldn’t be reopened if DU and JNU could be?
Vice Chancellor of JMI, Najma Akhtar, while speaking to this newspaper, however, said the university will be reopened in a phased manner, starting with the dental department, where the practical classes cannot be taken online nor its exams can be held in an online mode.
Although no date has been fixed yet to reopen the university, Akhtar said, “We have no intention to keep the university closed. We had a meeting with the deans and other officials on February 8 regarding this issue where the teachers said they were not ready to take the students in a bunch. Even students are also not ready to attend offline classes as of now.”
She also added, “Reopening of the university is gradually planned.We don’t want the students to be troubled once they enter the campus. We have to be clear that they are through with the RT-PCR test and are fully vaccinated before they return. We will give students 10 days so that they can prepare to return. There are students in Kerala, Kashmir who can't return without booking tickets.”
Akhtar emphasised that she doesn’t want the IIM Ahmedabad incident, where faculty and staff members had got infected with Covid all at once, to be repeated at Jamia.
No sharing of hostel rooms
The VC also talked about the need for cleaning the university hostels since they have been lying unused for two years. “A lot of preparations are required before we reopen the university. Our hostels have been shut for two years and they are in bad shape now. Considering the Covid situation, we will not be able to give hostel facility to all, even to the former occupants. We will allow only one student in each room to avoid any infection. Similarly, all classes will not open at the same time,” said Akhtar.
Talking about the cprotest in the campus, Akhtar, said, “It is the first time any such protest has taken place at the campus. These students may not be from Jamia because our students are taking online exams.” The protest was organised by student organisations like AIRSO, AISA, AISF, CFI, DISSC, SFI and SIO. The students also submitted a memorandum to the university administration by putting forward all their demands.
SIO president Hammad Khan, student of International Studies, said: “By keeping the campus closed, the university administration is depriving students their right to equal education. That’s why we demand immediate reopening. If our demands are not accepted, the students will organise massive campaigns. We have sought response from the concerned officials till February 11.”
All India Students’ Association (AISA)—Delhi unit tweeted on Wednesday, saying, “Why has there been a silence over this demand to reopen the Jamia. JNU has resumed its offline classes, DU has also announced to reopen it from next week, then why not Jamia?”