'Breaks my heart, not spirit', says activist Safoora Zargar's after Jamia cancels her admission

The University said the 2020 Delhi riots case accused did not submit her M.Phil dissertation within the maximum stipulated time of five semesters.
Jamia student Safoora Zargar was arrested in connection with the protests in northeast Delhi’s Jaffrabad in February 2020. (Photo | Twitter)
Jamia student Safoora Zargar was arrested in connection with the protests in northeast Delhi’s Jaffrabad in February 2020. (Photo | Twitter)

NEW DELHI: Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University has cancelled the admission of scholar and activist Safoora Zargar, who was arrested in a 2020 riots case, due to "unsatisfactory" progress in her thesis work.

Zargar, who had enrolled with the Department of Sociology in the integrated MPhil/PhD programme, said the cancellation "breaks my heart but not my spirit".

In a notification dated August 26, office of the dean, Faculty of Social Science, said she did not submit her M.Phil dissertation within the maximum stipulated time of five semesters.

"The registration of Safoora Zargar from M.Phil./Ph.D.(Sociology) stands cancelled w.e.f.22 August, 2022, in anticipation of the approval of the same of the Faculty Committee," the notification read.

The dean's office mentioned that the action has been taken on the recommendation given by the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) on July 5.

The matter was approved by the department's Board of Studies, the highest decision-making body of the department, on August 22.

"On the recommendation of the RAC, dated July 5, the DRC (Department Research Committee) dated August 22, and the supervisor's report, the Board of Studies approved the cancellation of admission of Safoora Zargar, M.Phil./Ph.D Scholar, registered under Prof. Kulwinder Kaur," the notification further read.

The administration claimed that her supervisor marked her performance "unsatisfactory" in the progress report, that she did not apply for an extension as a ‘woman scholar' before the expiry of the stipulated maximum period.

"The scholar did not submit her M.Phil dissertation within the maximum stipulated time of five semesters plus on an additional semester of Covid extension (sixth semester) that was also given to her, which ended on February 6," the notification mentioned.

Zargar, meanwhile, took to Twitter to point out how quickly her admission cancellation was approved.

“"The usually snail-paced Jamia admin moving at light speed to cancel my admission, foregoing all due process. Let it be known, it breaks my heart but not my spirit," Zargar tweeted.

Zargar and some Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leaders have been accused of being the “masterminds” of the February 2020 violence in northeast Delhi.

Last week, she had tweeted that her application for an extension of MPhil thesis submission has been put on hold for over eight months.

She had told PTI that the administration was not responding to her application.

On Wednesday, she had written to Jamia Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar that she was being subjected to undue harassment and ridicule at the hands of the administration.

"While UGC has granted five consecutive Covid extensions I have been given only one. I was forced to apply for an extension under the women scholar category, only to be denied after months citing 'unsatisfactory progress'. This is in clear violation of the guidelines laid down by UGC (University Grants Commission) and points to the malafide intentions of the supervisor and the department. I will be taking all remedial action available to me," the letter read.

A day later, the university had issued a statement saying Zargar did not complete her dissertation before the expiry of the Covid extension that came to an end on Februrary 6, and there was no provision for any further Covid extension as per the UGC notification as the scholar had been claiming.

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