On a day when the Delhi University Students’ Union elections were held, the new Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia Najeeb Jung on Friday said he was not averse to students’ union polls but stopped short of giving any indications on holding these elections on the Jamia campus.
Jamia administration had prohibited students’ union elections a few years ago.
“Prima facie I am not averse to students’ union elections. I have no problems. But I do not know the background. I will read the related files and see what can be done,” said Mr. Jung at his maiden press conference on the campus.
He also avoided any comment on the Batla House encounter that took place in the University’s neighbourhood last year by claiming “the V-C doesn’t have much involvement on the issue.”
Mr. Jung said he wanted to single-handedly work for the benefit of students and provide them all the facilities.
“The raison d’etre of Jamia is welfare of its students. My interest is that all the activities we do should be linked to the students’ welfare. A Jamia student should be socially, emotionally and educationally finished article. Our students should be a proud product of nation and they should be proud of their institution,” Mr. Jung asserted.
He also met the area Delhi Commissioner of Police Shalini Singh to discuss the well being of students.
On Thursday after Mr. Jung took over, a B.Tech. student died in a road accident at Jamia Nagar. The V-C announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs.1 lakh to the boy’s family.
The V-C said his prime focus would be on developing infrastructure on the campus.
“I want to improve the hostels, open more coaching centres to train students for IAS/IPS and more games facilities. Our potential is enormous. We must give our students infrastructure and means to develop fully. They should be able to live comfortably here.”
An international expert on energy, Mr. Jung said he would look at launching courses in petroleum technology and petroleum economics since there was a big market for them.
“We must also have a college of medicine. Vocational training is also important for sustainable living for so many students. At the same time, research is also important. I have been a researcher for the past six years and research is never a waste of time.”
A former bureaucrat, Mr. Jung also dismissed the scepticism of a section of Jamia teachers who were opposed to the idea of a bureaucrat heading the University.
“This argument is very fallacious. I don’t think only academicians should head a university. G. Parthasarathi, who was JNU Vice-Chancellor, was a former civil servant.”
The V-C also said he did not view the new assignment any differently.
“We do a variety of jobs in the government. I was a secretary, I have worked with the Asian Development Bank and have been an academia at Oxford. So it is not such a dramatic change for me.”