Protest by the students of the department of applied arts at Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI), New Delhi, took a violent turn Thursday when the protesters were allegedly “thrashed by a group of students close to the head of the department”. Over 150 students were protesting against alleged unfair means of assessment, favouritism and sexist comments by HOD, applied arts, Hafeez Ahmed in the campus. The protest has entered the ninth day today.
Yesterday, the protesting students moved their protest from gate number 7 to the department in an attempt to “talk to the HOD” when a group of students allegedly manhandled them. The professor, on the other hand, alleged that he was held captive inside his studio by students who were protesting outside his room for five hours. The professor alleged when he tried to step out of the studio to take his classes, students tried to thrash him when the university security intervened.
“We were on a peaceful protest against the unfair means of assessment when a group of students on instructions of the HOD had started beating us up. They pulled the dupattas (scarves) of female students and groped them. We were pulled by our hair. These are favourite students of our HOD who is the only permanent faculty in the department and is re-appointed each time after his tenure,” a second-year arts student told indianexpress.com. Students accused six male students of the act.
In the scuffle, a female student got injured and was admitted to the Holy Family Hospital, nearby.
JMI public relations officer (PRO), Ahmed Azeem said, “Students are permitted to protest near gate 7 but they moved the protest to the department of arts, that is when a group of students thrashed the ones on the protest. The administration has suspended three students in this regard. The charge of HOD, applied arts has been handed over to the dean of arts. She is a woman and will also be heading the inquiry against Professor Ahmed, who has been sent on leave.”
Azeem added, “The protesting students are making the environment of the varsity negative.”
Students have continued their protest demanding open assessment. Each year, projects by students are submitted in a closed envelope based on which they are given marks. While the professor said it is the standard practice that daily behaviour, attendance and day-to-day projects are also part of the final score, students want an open assessment to avoid ‘favouritism’ by the professor.
According to female students, the professor also commented on the colour of lipsticks of female students and passed sexist remarks in class and even over text messages.
Ahmed refused all the allegations against him and said students are motivated. “I have been working in the university for 25 years now but no such complaints were raised against me earlier. If students had an issue they should have moved the right authorities. They protested outside my studio and held me captive for five hours, this is an attempt to character assassinate me,” said Ahmed.