Jamia Millia Islamia has forbidden former MPhil student Safoora Zargar from entering its campus on the grounds of her organising protests and demonstrations there on “irrelevant and objectionable issues”. The 29-year-old student, who tried to exploit her pregnancy to get a lenient treatment from the country's legal system, is an accused in the main conspiracy case in the Northeast Delhi riots and was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Safoora Zargar was enrolled in the department of sociology in the integrated MPhil and PhD programme of Jamia since 2019. On 26 August, the dean faculty of social sciences issued a notice stating that her registration for the said discipline had been annulled, as she had not submitted her MPhil dissertation within the maximum stipulated time of five semesters along with an additional semester of Covid extension, and her supervisor’s report which stated that her progress was “unsatisfactory”.
Now, the university’s proctor has issued an order banning her entry into the campus.
The order reads: "It has been observed that Ms Safoora Zargar (ex-student) has been involved in organising protests and marches on the campus against irrelevant and objectionable issues to disturb the peaceful academic environment with few students who are mostly outsiders. She is instigating innocent students of the university and trying to use the university for her malafide political agenda along with some others. Further, she is hampering the normal functioning of the institution."
Since the time of cancellation of Safoora Zargar’s admission, there have been protests on the campus demanding its withdrawal. The institute says that Zargar’s progress with her dissertation was unsatisfactory as she did not complete it within the stipulated time and she did not apply for an extension available to women students within the stipulated time.
The institute has imposed a similar ban on two other former students. Sources said that the university had issued show-cause notices to several students for staging protests supporting Safoora Zargar. Jamia has invoked an order issued on 29 August, disallowing assemblies of students on the campus “without prior permission of the Proctor”.
"… you have been found on the forefront of the unauthorised gatherings of students several times against irrelevant and objectionable issues, which disturbed the peaceful academic environment of the university,” the notices state, demanding responses from students asking why disciplinary action should not be taken against the activists.
Safoora Zargar was arrested on 10 April 2020 for allegedly inciting mobs for rioting in the area around Jamia Millia Islamia. In mid-June that year, she pleaded before the court hearing her case that she was more than four-months pregnant. Delhi Police retorted, saying that the law made no distinction for the said crime (rioting) for the accused who were pregnant.