Jamia university pledges legal aid to arrested students

September 24th, 2008 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) Jamia Millia Islamia University vice-chancellor Mushirul Hasan Wednesday said the varsity would not interfere in any judicial process but vowed to give legal aid to the university’s two arrested students, who Delhi Police say were terrorists.“We want to make it clear that like our predecessors have always done, we will provide legal aid to the two arrested students who are alleged to be terrorists. However, we will nor interfere with the judicial process,” Hasan told reporters after addressing a packed stadium of students outside the Ansari auditorium on the campus.

Reinstating their faith in the institute and allaying their fears and concerns, Hasan told the students that the university would always be there to protect and support them and that there was no need to worry.

“We, as teachers and heads of the institute, are like parents and these students are like our children. It’s our responsibility to protect them. Moreover, as the law itself says, one is innocent until proved guilty. Therefore, the media and others should stop the speculation and wait,” he said.

“The Jamia University has always been regarded as a secular institute which believes in non-violence. We believe in Mahatma Gandhi’s ideologies and he was one of the founders of this institute. These turn of incidents are isolated cases and have nothing to do with the varsity as such,” Hasan added.

Saying that he had not received any adverse report on the two arrested students of the varsity - Zia-ur-Rehman and Mohammad Shakeel - and that Atif, the alleged terrorist who was killed, had taken admission only this Aug, Hasan said that stereotyping a community on the basis of isolated incidents was an issue of concern.

Rehman and Shakeel were arrested after the Friday shootout in Jamia Nagar during which the police said they gunned down two terrorists involved in the Sep 13 Delhi and July 26 Ahmedabad serial blasts.

Hasan will Thursday lead a peace march in the campus with the students, teachers and other staff members condemning violence and reinstating their belief on non-violence and secularism.

“The university has been functioning normally but I know that we all have to work hard to regain Jamia’s reputation,” he said.

Outside the press briefing hall, students raised slogans against the media for hyping up the issue and many even refused to talk to reporters.

“Our vice-chancellor has told us that there was no reason to worry, in light of all that is happening in the Jamia neighbourhood,” was all a student, Shamim Khan, said.

Mushirul Hasan stressed: “These students, all of 17-18 years old, are vulnerable. I don’t understand how can they become terrorists”.

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