After the corona infection has improved, offline studies and examinations have also started in almost all public and private educational institutions and universities, but Jamia Millia Islamia University is still running on-line classes
First-year undergraduate and postgraduate students of New Delhi’s prestigious Jamia Millia Islamia University began a boycott of their online classes on Monday. Students are demanding to reopen the physical classes amid a widespread feeling that the BJP ruled central government wants them to stay away from a campus it deems troublesome. Students from 26 departments boycotted the online classes Monday.
The students have demanded complete reopening of the campus and resumption of offline classes for all undergraduate and postgraduate courses, notice for hostel allotment and issuance of a proper academic calendar till or before Eid (May 2-3) to be observed after the holy month of Ramzan.
The departments which boycotted classes included Economics, History, Sociology, Psychology, Geography, Biotech, Physics, Aeronautics, Unani pharmacy, Mass Media, BBA, English, French, Urdu, Persian, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Islamic Studies et cetera.
Some commentators had earlier expressed fears elsewhere that autocratic regimes could misuse the so-called post-Covid “new normal”, marked by fewer face-to-face interactions and chances to mobilise public opinion, to put a lid on dissent.
Citizenship Amendment Act
Jamia had in 2019 been one of the hubs of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and witnessed a violent police raid on the campus. The Narendra Modi government has taken a stance against the minority character of the central university in a continuing court case.
All the central universities and IITs and most state-level universities have reopened in-person classes for all batches, but Jamia has resumed physical classes only for final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The South Asian University (SAU) is the other Delhi institution not to have resumed offline classes but an official said this was because flight restrictions would till recently have prevented its large number of foreign students from returning to India.
According to the daily Telegraph report, a senior Jamia professor told the protests and the police action on the campus had been bad publicity for the government, and it therefore wanted to keep as many students out of the university premises as it could. The professor also said that they may keep this up as long as they can. If another round of Covid comes, they might again suspend all the classes.
Many second-year undergraduate students at Jamia, who are also being denied offline classes, have joined the online-class boycott that is expected to continue this full week before the students conduct a review on Sunday. The Jamia students being denied physical classes have also been barred from the campus library, which is a key grievance.
The Telegraph quoted a student as saying that the worst of the pandemic is over and there are no restrictions on offline classes in the country now but Jamia is open only for final-year students, which is discriminatory. Senior teachers are said to have secretly accepted government pressure not to reopen physical classes for all the batches.