Insecurity quietens campus bustle in Jamia universitySeptember 22nd, 2008 - 3:57 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) The mood was sombre and the usual bustle was missing from the Jamia Milia Islamia University Monday when, unlike any other day, students had to compulsorily show their identity cards before entering the campus.The university reopened to gloom and tension after a dramatic weekend when police shot dead two suspected militants in nearby Jamia Nagar Friday and arrested five - including two who are said to be students of the university - for suspected involvement in the recent bombings in Delhi and other cities.
Saira Khan, an undergraduate student of the university, said no one spoke of the incidents in class - the shootout Friday morning and the consecutive arrests in Jamia Nagar - but the silence was heavy with unanswered questions.
“The teachers went about their lectures like always. But there was a very difficult silence. We have been talking about all the arrests, but only amongst friends, and not in the open,” Khan told IANS.
When asked what she thought about those arrested Sunday - Shaquir Nissar and the two Jamia University students according to police Zia-ur-Rehman and Mohammad Shakeel - Khan said: “I don’t believe any of it. How can anyone pick up students and brand them as terrorists? What is the proof?”
“If they are actually what the police say they are, then punish them. But not until you prove that,” Khan, dressed in a green salwar and with her head covered, told IANS.
Although university officials refused to comment, the students were vociferous. Many said the talk would hamper the varsity’s reputation, while others said they didn’t feel safe in the city any more.
“I don’t feel secure here any more,” said Mohammad Shoaib, a student of Arabic. Dressed in a kurta-pyjama and wearing his beard long, he admitted he felt vulnerable after the recent incidents in the neighbourhood.
“Students of the university are randomly picked up by the police on suspicion. What guarantee is there that they don’t pick me up tomorrow?” he asked.
Shaheen Aslam, another student, said the recent turn of events had made her conscious of her status as a Muslim.
“I have lots of friends who are not Muslims. But these days whenever there is a discussion on the terrorism issue, I feel uncomfortable. How do I feel amid all this, my friends ask. How should I feel? Does a Muslim think any different from somebody who’s not a Muslim?
“I feel sad. Terrorism which takes away lives of innocent people is a sin. But please, don’t ask me again if I feel alienated because your question makes me only think that I am different.”