Jamia students urge university to restore union elections

Students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University today urged the varsity administration to restore union elections — banned since 2006 — and declare a date for the polls before October 10.

In a memorandum submitted to vice chancellor Talat Ahmad, the students of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) said, “We have suffered immensely for the last 11 years since students union was scrapped in 2006.”

The JAC – with members from various student bodies including the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti, All India Students’ Association and Jamia Students’ Forum – which was formed to raise the demand for students union in the varsity had announced about today’s protest two days ago.

The students also complained that they had no representation in decision making bodies of the varsity and “no mechanism ensured accountability of such bodies”.

“The administrative decisions like fee hike, scrapping of paper marksheets, delay and errors in examination results have affected and made us feel powerless,” the memorandum said.

The students said they would “resort to democratic means of protest” in case the varsity does not meet the deadline of announcing date for the polls.

Talat Ahmad, who confirmed the receipt of the memorandum, told PTI that though he does not have any issue in reinstating the students union but he can not take a decision because the matter was sub-judice.

“When the matter is in court, I cannot take decisions that would end up in contempt of court,” he said, adding that the students were informed about the aspect of legal issue.

An official from the administration claimed that they were receiving representations from a large section of students who were “against restoration of students union as it would politicise the campus”.

“The administration doesn’t have any issue in restoring the students union if there is no legal issue. But also a large section of students are not willing for students union, instead they feel Subject Association as an alternative and effective mechanism which is already in existence for the past few years,” the official said.

Subject Association is a representative body with students being elected as president, secretary and vice president for all 30 centres and 34 departments of the varsity, he said.
“Students feel that in the present system they know their leaders personally unlike in the students union – which they feel will politicise the campus,” the official added.

(PTI)