Police called in to disperse agitating students at Jamia

NEW DELHI OCT. 28. A day after students of Jamia Millia Islamia here went on an indefinite strike to press their demand for resumption of student union elections in the University, police were called in to disperse the agitating group, with nine students being detained by the police on Tuesday morning.

With just 24 hours to go for the Foundation Day celebrations of the University, the agitating students were made to leave the main campus. According to the students, the Jamia Vice-Chancellor, Shahid Mahdi, has agreed to meet a delegation of the students on Thursday to discuss the issue. The students, however, said they would be taking out a flag march on Wednesday to condemn the Administration's apathy towards the democratic right of students.

Elections to the Jamia Millia Islamia Students Union were stopped in 1997-98 after the University witnessed constant violence. The decision to stop the election, according to University officials, was an attempt to ensure peace on the campus.

"The authorities have been blaming past activities. But then, just because the past was bad does not mean the present and future would be similar. If the University is so concerned, it can always come out with good criteria to ensure good participation. Moreover, it always has the right to dissolve the union, so why stop the elections,'' questioned one of the agitating students.

Although the demand for resumption of elections has been on for two years now, the agitation is one of the first public protests on the Campus, one that has been labelled by the authorities as nothing more than a political gimmick.

"We live in a democratic country and all we are demanding for is a platform to express our grievances and concerns. But the University clearly does not want us to question their decision, which are not always in keeping with the students good,'' said another agitating student.

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