Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Seeking to build up confidence among students in the wake of the recent incidents in its neighbourhood, Jamia Millia Islamia Vice-Chancellor Mushirul Hasan on Wednesday reiterated his commitment to offer legal aid to two of its students arrested by the Delhi police this past Sunday.

Two Jamia students — Zia ur Rehman and Mohammad Shakeel — have been arrested for their suspected involvement in terror activities, while Mohammad Bashir alias Atif, who is alleged to be the Indian Mujahideen “head,” was killed in the Batla House encounter.

Addressing a gathering of 5,000-odd students who had converged inside and outside the Ansari Auditorium on the campus, Professor Hasan delivered an inspiring and forceful message to his students.

“While the University will ensure that the students get fair justice, it has no intention of intervening with the judicial processes or impeding police enquiries. Every citizen is entitled to legal aid as per our Constitution.”

Urging the media not to hold a “trial” of his students, he said there was no single complaint, let alone a criminal record, against the three.

He said the meeting with the students was held to allay their fears and misgivings.

“This University is unequivocally against terror and violence. Nothing can justify the killings of innocent people since it is contrary to all civilised norms. Jamia is committed to the secular legacy that it has inherited from its stalwarts. The staff and students of the University must uphold that legacy at all costs,” he told the students.

Professor Hasan urged the students not to be defensive. “We owe no explanation to anyone except ourselves and our faith that unambiguously eschews violence. Our commitment is to the rule of law and to the Indian Constitution…Our answer to our critics is that we should be more secular than the others and we should cultivate an enlightened and liberal outlook while remaining true to one’s convictions.”

He said there was normalcy on the campus and classes were being held.