Students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University protested an anti-terrorism oath taking ceremony organised on May 21, 2021, via a Google meet call. Student unions like All India Students Association (AISA) condemned the event for its “transparent display of Islamophobia.”

According to one of the attending students, who wished to remain unnamed, the college forwarded a circular by the Union Ministry of Education that instructed an anti-terrorism pledge-taking ceremony for government officers, staff. It also included subordinate/ attached/ autonomous bodies under their administrative control.

Speaking to SabrangIndia, the student said that they received the notice from their co-curricular activity group, the English Literary Association. Students from every semester were invited to join the Google meet event but were not informed about further details.

“We were just told this was being organised in line with the Anti-Terrorism Day on May 21. Around 20 to 25 students logged in along with me. But before the function could start, some students asked about the event and why they were being made to take such an oath. The event could not progress after that because the students kept asking the same question,” said the attendee.

The pledge, which is available in the circular in Hindi and English says, “We, the people of India, have abiding faith in our country’s tradition of non-violence and tolerance, hereby solemnly affirm to oppose with our strength, all forms of terrorism and violence. We pledge to uphold and promote peace, social harmony, and understanding among all fellow human beings and fight the forces of disruption threatening human lives.”

While the source could not confirm whether the students asking the question belonged to any student union, AISA member Arbab Ali said that students were removed from the meeting because of their persisting questions.

“They finally came to know that the Vice Chancellor and administration were involved in the organisation of the event. These are 17-year-old kids. They already have to deal with the workload of assignments that hasn’t been lessened despite the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Ali.

Like most of India’s population, JMI students have lost professors and family members during the health crisis. The student community earlier demanded relief in the form of free vaccination at the university but received no response from the administration.

“The university is yet to speak in support of the three JMI students who were imprisoned under UAPA. For the same administration to conduct such an event is worrying. It worsens the relationship between the university and the students,” said Ali.

Earlier, the organisation protested the incident by posing a series of questions about the event on their social media that were as follows:

  • Is there any reason apart from Islamophobia for students to attend an online meeting and establish that they are not terrorists?
  • Why is the administration hell-bent on subjecting the student community to one humiliation after another?
  • Why hasn’t the administration organised a solidarity event with imprisoned students?
  • Has the ministry also sent this invite to MPs and MLAs, who were charged with terrorism in the past?
  • Will MLAs and Chief Ministers, who were found giving open calls for genocide, also attend such meetings?

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