Saturday, April 3, 2010

WHETHER AMU STUDENTS ARE WORSE THAN MAOIST?


“The Aligarh Muslim University, which had the potential to become the premier provider of higher education to the Muslim middle classes as well as to help generate knowledge about India’s largest minority, has reduced itself to being a small-time distributor of patronage and corruption. While government policies and interference must bear a large part of the blame for this trend, the culpability of the “university community” cannot be denied either.” --- Economic and Political Weekly, February 27, 2010, Volume XLV No. 9

Few days back when Debarshi Dasgupta, the Outlook correspondent (http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?264463) called me to comment on the official spy agency of AMU “LIU (Local Intelligence Unit)” he all of a sudden asked, “Adil, do you really believe that Government of India is oblivious of the fact that a premier institution like AMU has sleuths who are legally appointed to spy both on students and staff? You know I have never heard of it in any other academic institution in my entire career!” For a moment I was little confused and then I said, “May be”. He responded with a firm voice, “No, I believe they are not. May be government itself silently and unofficially recognized it with the suspicion that SIMI or other hardliners are still active there so it need such mechanism.” I was so embarrassed but I think the tone of that outside journalist to some unique feature like this at AMU was kind of justified.

But this is not even enough to monitor the activities of students. AMU has recently installed some 57 CCTV cameras inside the campus including hostel gates, playgrounds, AMU run Schools, gates at IG,SN,BSJ & Abdullah Hall(may be voyeurism would be given top priority there) apart from the other places in campus for the “security reasons as per government guidelines” as the PRO, AMU.

You see! Government guidelines are clearly mentioned to monitor and keep surveillance on the most active Muslim youth community who are supposed to be the future threat for all the sinister design against Muslims by the state and for which they readily paid 10 crores.

Hey 10 crore by Government of India for security reasons to a university where no terrorist found yet( well well yes if we remember Government were hell bent to prove that during the Vice-Chancellorship of Hamid Ansari), no Maoist or sympathizer, or dacoits or anything. Yes violence happened but the degree of it is quite similar to many universities, many colleges in India.

Now look at this letter sent by the Ministry of HRD to AMU vide no.G23011/22/2009-IF.1 dated September 12, 2009 where they have instructed with the words, “The Ministry is at the same time aware that it is often difficult within the available resources, to meet the cost of various chemicals and consumables, etc, required in the laboratories and also for meeting the cost of library books and journals, etc. Given the constraint of resources leading to mandatory cuts in non-salary expenditure, it is expected that the institutions would make efforts to generate additional resources by gradual revision of fees, levy of user fees, withdrawal of hostel subsidies and through other measures.”

Wow, Govt have lack of funds for our hostel facilities, books, journals, lab chemicals and equipments but 10 crore was granted all at once for CCTV at hostels. People accused me of playing politics here. But if you they have guts then come through logical process and answer to my concerns rather than going personal and send rebuttal to the ‘conspiracy theory’ I can sense here.

Are we worse than maoist?

Prime Minister of India in 2008 declared that “Maoist insurgence” is the greatest single internal security threat of India. Now let’s see the links of Indian Universities with this Maoist insurgence. During the recent agitation at the Osmania University, Andhra Pradesh Govt. Filed an affidavit at the Supreme Court citing Maoist presence at the hostels and campuses, later on Ministry of Home Affairs also endorsed the same view but it was refuted by their brave Vice-Chancellor(http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/No-Maoists-in-OU-VC/articleshow/5601326.cms). In June 2008, West Bengal Police entered Jadavpur University (4th Rank in India) hostels to arrest and some Maoist and their supporters and it led to violent student-police clash. Later on West Bengal Chief Minister apologized in the assembly and termed this Police action as “uncalled for” and asked the Police to respect university life. It is no open secret that Maoist have their sympathizers at JNU and they have their hide-outs there sometimes. On Feb 2, 2010 a newspaper reporter in Hindustan Times quoted that, while travelling through Naxal-affected Chhattisgarh, a senior police officer, himself a product of one of Calcutta’s most liberal colleges, told me that the “intelligentsia in colleges and JNU-type universities” have been helping the Maoists. “That oxygen stream must be cut off,” he had said decidedly”(http://www.hindustantimes.com/Collateral-damage/H1-Article1-520658.aspx). None of these universities received government guidelines to install CCTV camera at its hostels and campuses. No university in India have. They know to show respect the university life, AMU forgot.

So what the conclusion came from all this information? We the students of AMU are proud to learn that installation of CCTV camera for “security purposes as per Government guidelines” has proved the AMU students community as more dangerous than the Prime Minister quoted Maoists as “greatest single internal security threat to India”. 10 Crore for us seems to be an insult now. We would be pleased if elite Greyhound forces get deployed next near Arts Faculty with SLR, AK-47. The day is not too far.

Respect for University Life

I myself could not get room in my 1st year at Allama Iqbal Hall as some student who completed his Phd was not leaving his room. Infiltration of illegal’s who occupy the hostel rooms is very much internal matter of university and these illegals are known to the authorities also. No one in here understand this thing from the logic that these people stayed in the rooms because in spite authorities knew them, they enjoyed the impunity before law. Now a student who has allotment in some room and some illegal is occupying it, only Proctor Office or Provost Office with some little expediency can vacate that room as the student who is affected is bound to inform the authority about that illegal. How CCTV help here? Every gundagardi that I have seen in the campus was not a hidden fact or infiltrators who did that were unknown to the authorities. Now the true will or the ineffectiveness of the Proctor Office machinery has no relation with the CCTV. After 2007, when Vice-Chancellor of AMU flushed out 1600 illegal as it was claimed, how many again infiltrated since then that they are installing CCTV cameras now? So it means from 2007 till date the Proctors Office or Provost Officers did not do their job properly. Whether any disciplinary action taken? Again right now Provost Offices employ 3 people with 8 hours duty at the hostel gates which means 24 hours they keep vigil. What are their jobs? Why they are being given the salary? And if installing CCTV means we wont need them anymore, Why then the job cuts when already it is providing employment to few?

One respected senior Alig linked CCTV with the murders happened in the campus. First of all no murders were linked with hostels and secondly how CCTV is going to stop any murderer at the campus. There are many ways to enter in a hostel or campus and commit the murder? CCTV has not covered the Cafe De Phoos area where the murder of 2007 happened or the backyard of VC lodge from where at night many students come alone or many places where things can be done. Right now 3 Gypsy keep effective vigil around the campus and I congratulate Proctors Office that for this not many mobile thefts or any other unfortunate thing avoided. If you add just 5 more Gypsies and some little more manpower and keep 24 hour vigil around the campus, it is nearly impossible for any miscreants to do anything. But the fact is not that. It is about selling the interest of the students for just Rs.10 Crore.

Why the Control Room has been set up near the Aligarh Police Control Room? Is it again the government guidelines that monitoring should be shared with the IB or Police Officials of the AMU? Definitely, we are the greatest single security threat in India now, so is it? Am I wrong Vice-Chancellor sir?

It seems the way the Old Boys are understood about the security situation at AMU is nothing but the ‘Manufacturing Consent’ for such security purposes as mentioned in the Noam Chomsky’s book. There US officials invest billion of dollars for hi-tech defence systems creating an artificial fear among the Americans with Dick Cheny’s company earning the profit. The all politics of Blues and Red can bring no respite when Muslims face extra security measures at the Airports, or their moves are monitored in the post 9/11 era. Why you remain silent as you what’s the problem with surveillance? Why the matters of sense of dignity appear then?

All I can say the media policy of AMU what was taken and then the security measures investing 10 crores is following the similar lines. I will write next what could have been done in 10 crore rupees in AMU rather than this futile and humiliating exercise.

Here we do not have enough books in our reading rooms, proper drinking water, canteens, labs for many department, and rooms for many enrolled students at AMU. As per the Need Hierarchy theory propagated by the Abraham Mashlow, the first needs are the physiological and basis needs. If they remain unfulfilled, rest are meaningless. The same case with AMU where such uncalled for security measures will bring only humiliation in our lives

The cameras at the gates are the invasion in our social lives. The places we are playing, involving in literary and cultural activities, having tea, smoking all are covered by the BIG BOSS. And many students said to me they feel choked with the presence of all this.This is not the way a university life should be. I know what West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said about respecting university life to the Police Officials. Its not Aligarh exhibition, its not Railway station. It’s Aligarh Muslim University.

No university students are unaware about their rights as we are. And only for that reason administration in association with the Govt. has gone ahead in turning AMU into a police state. More than thousand students here asked me why we are not starting protest against it. At this moment I just could give advice to them to take other measures to raise our concern as BA/BSC final exams will start from April 7. We understand us, they don’t. However we won’t be silent.

We challenge the AMU authorities to come out with a white paper and distribute it among the students about the “government guidelines’ they received and face us with all our questions and queries in a General Body Meeting and let us understand the importance of these CCTV cameras. This is for us na! Let us tell them. If they constantly ignore the students’ anger again which is cutting them from inside things may snowball in near future.

2 days back when Senior Hall & Senior Food of Sulaiman Hall went to DSW( as they told me today) for Hall Function and complained with the words, “Sir yaha hamare hall mein Aquaguard kharab pade hue hain, saaf pani nai milta, aur yaha VC sahab 10 karore mein camera laga rahe hain”, the embarrassed DSW just could reply with the words, “ Ye batein chhoro, tumse kya matlab!ye administration ka mamla hai, top level ki baat hai.”

Indeed it is. It is about “government guidelines” after all. But for whom? We know the answer. The greatest single security threat to the India! Its us!


3 comments:

  1. Dear Adil ... I am an old-boy and a son of a professor of AMU.I have grown up in Maader e Darsga'h.I have known no other land but that as my own.And now I am in London, I remember it as my mother. I have been greatly pained by this article but have also found comfort in the thought that you lads have put two and two together and found out the truth. Adil ... I so fear for the very 'saalmiat' existance of our University. The snake have finally put its coil round our beloved university. They have finally woven a web round us ... at this moment I cant write more ...

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