Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Letter to Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia

To,                                                                                                                   Date:- 22.11.2011
Vice Chancellor
Jamia Millia Islamia
New Delhi-110025.

The Batla House ‘Encounter’ of 19 September 2008 angered, shocked and terrorized the Jamia community. Police continued to pick up young people from the community and labeled them as terrorists. In this backdrop Jamia Millia Islamia intervened to restore community’s fast losing faith in the judicial system.  Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA) has played a pioneering role in this struggle for justice.  Most important Jamia initiative was the declaration of legal aid to the affected families. Prof. Mushirul Hasan the then Vice-Chancellor had promised to provide legal aid and teachers also announced to donate a month’s salary for the cause. The Jamia community collected Rs. 1 lakh for the same purpose. In addition, Mr. Amar Singh, the then Samajwadi Party leader had also donated Rs. 10/- lakhs to the legal aid fund. 
The Jamia Legal Aid Fund not only helped raise important funding to fight legal battle, it also helped the local community to feel united and work in solidarity for justice.  By rising to protect the dignity of its own community Jamia Millia Islamia set an ideal example of the role of a university in a modern secular democracy. We are happy that you as the Vice-Chancellor have also reiterated the same support for the victims and their families.
I as part of this glorious institution have been inspired by Jamia’s history of fighting for the victims. I have filed around 50 RTIs on Batla House ‘Encounter.’  Delhi Police has claimed to have killed two important members of the Indian Mujahideen. What I have found from the RTIs is that the authority’s unwillingness to allow an independent judicial probe has dented the Delhi Police’s claim of biggest achievement in counter-terrorism. 
JMI’s announcement to provide legal aid had created hope in the community. Unfortunately in last three years there has been no concrete steps, neither there has been any FIR lodged against the Delhi Police. I am writing to you to request that we need to stand up to the moral duty and lodge an FIR against Delhi Police so that the legal process can start. Three years have passed at least 19 young men have been in jail without any charge-sheet. I earnestly request to your office to provide legal aid to the families of Atif and Sajid and other 19 who have been in jail for last three years.
Moreover, the last incident of inviting Lt. Governor Tejender Khanna for convocation was like adding salt to the wound of the victims and the larger community. Mr. Khanna is the same person who rejected the call for an independent inquiry into the Batla House ‘Encounter.’ In doing so he violated the NHRC 2003 directive that each police encounter must be independently probed.  I have earlier lodged strong protest against Jamia’s decision to invite Mr. Khanna and have decided to discontinue my studies (as an M.Phil student). 
I would like to draw your attention that I suspect that I have been put under surveillance by Delhi Police Special Cell. Inspector Ramesh Chandra Lamba called me on 17 Nov 2011 and asked me to come to the Lodhi Road office of the Special Cell on 18 Nov 2011. I wanted my fellow friends to be aware of this call from the special cell and received enormous support from students, friends, activists and lawyers throughout the country. On Friday 18 Nov 2011, Inspector Lamba called to inform that there was no need to visit the police office. Upon my inquiry of the reason behind the police call, he wanted me to know why I opposed the Lt. Governor’s presence to Jamia. I explained everything in detail including my background. 
I am aware that this kind of harassment of our students is commonplace in Delhi and on behalf of Forum for Student Democracy (FSD) I appeal to you to restore students’ faith in the university, in the political system and in the secular democracy of India. Jamia has a glorious history of standing with the victims and spearheading the struggle against injustice.
I once again earnestly request you to release the legal aid funds for the victims of police atrocities and initiate the process of filing an FIR quickly. Jamia had lost a young man during the Batla House ‘Encounter’ 2008. Government and NHRC responses to my RTIs reveal that the encounter was rather a shoot out, to which some call a cold blooded murder. I am in the possession of these RTI information which raise uncomfortable questions on the authenticity of the police version of the encounter.  An FIR lodged by Jamia will save at least the life of 19 men jailed without charges in several jails in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Release of Muslims on bail arrested in connection with Malegaon blast is a glaring reminder that many people have been in jail without any evidence against them. Jamia’s credibility as a leading institution of higher learning can be useful if you take proactive steps to lodge an FIR in to the cases of Delhi Serial Blasts 2008 and the Batla House ‘Encounter.’ 
In the meantime, I along with other members of FSD would like meet you.  We would like to have an appointment with you at the earliest so that you are aware of our major concerns and grievances. As I have decided to discontinue my studies at Jamia, I would like to submit my ID card to you and will continue my struggle for democracy and justice.
I am sure you will stand with us in this battle for justice.

Sincerely Yours

(Afroz Alam Sahil)
Convenor, Forum for Student Democracy.
Mobile: +91-9891322178.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

FSD questioned presence of Lt. Governor, Tejender Khanna's presence as Chief Guest at convocation of JMI.

New Delhi. (16 Nov. 2011)  Forum for Student Democracy questioned presence of Lt. Governor of Delhi Tejender Khanna's presence as Chief Guest at convocation of Jamia Millia Islamia.

Reacting strongly to inviting Mr. Khanna, who refused judicial enquiry into Batla House Shoot out (alleged encounter) in which two JMI students were killed and three others were arrested on grounds of having links with terrorists, FSD has filed RTI questioning why he was invited to the institute, to whose students he denied Justice. 

It should be noted that Judicial Enquiry, as ordered by NHRC was denied on orders of Mr. Khanna as Lt. Governor of Delhi. The NHRC when asked under RTI Act had a ready reply. “The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi declined to pass an order for magisterial inquiry in the instant case as laid down under the guidelines of the Commission.”  

The RTI has also asked JMI administration to furnish detail of the funds which were collected in name of Legal Aid to the affected students. Around one lakh rupee were donated by the students and ten lakh by then SP leader Amar Singh for the families of the arrested student to pursue the cases. Even after around three years, no amount is given to the families of the students. 

Expressing anger at JMI's administration decision to invite Tejender Khanna, Forum convenor Afroz Alam Sahil said, it is now well known that the Lt. Governor of Delhi , Mr Tejender Khanna rejected the demand for an independent magisterial inquiry into the Batla House Shoot out of 2008. His anti-human rights stand shocked the families of the victims and the larger Muslim community. 

How can the JMI invite such a person to hand over the degrees who himself has denied right to justice to students of the same institution? JMI students have been falsely implicated in terror cases, The Vice Chancellor Mr. Najeeb Jung who himself has many times expressed solidarity with the families of the victim and has asked for the judicial enquiry is hosting the man who declined it. 

Afroz Alam Sahil, also an RTI activist who has filed around 50-odd RTI queries on the Batla House ‘encounter’ alone says that the denial of judicial enquiry raise a bigger question that whom the Govt. is trying to protect? The denial of Judicial Enquiry is not only denial of justice but also a serious threat to national security as real culprits of the terror attacks may be roaming free and planning more dreadful attacks? The citizen of India deserves to know the real criminals and terrorists behind the attacks. Killing innocent students and arresting them in name of terror will never be a solution. 

It should also be noted that Mohammad Shakeel, a second-year MA student, and Zia-ur-Rehman, a third-year BA student, were arrested from New Delhi on September 21, 2008 for their alleged involvement in serial blasts. Delhi Police have said they, along with 10 others arrested, were part 
of the Indian Mujahideen that has claimed responsibility for the serial bombings in the national Capital as well as other cities in recent months.

In this backdrop the Convener of FSD Mr. Afroz Alam Sahil has decided to discontinue his study in Jamia Millia Islamia as an M.Phil student. Mr. Sahil didn’t want to study in university which is becoming insensitive to the demand of Justice. FSD stand united in the struggle to restore democracy in the campus and salute Mr. Sahil’s decision  to leave Jamia in protest.

RTI Application to JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA regarding Batla House Shoot out (alleged encounter)

   To,                                                                                                                          Dated: 16.11.2011
    Public Information Officer
    Jamia Millia Islamia
    Jamia Nagar, New Delhi – 25.
Subject- Application to obtain information under RTI act, 2005.
Please provide following information under the RTI Act-2005.
1.      The decision to invite the Lt. Governor, GNCT on occasion of General Annual Convocation-2011 is being passed in which resolution/ minutes/ directions. Kindly provide the copy of the same.
2.      Whether the Principal Academic and Executive Officer enjoined by JMI Act, 1988 is competent authority to confer Honorary Degree(s) to any person or, to invite any person as Chief Guest without bringing as agenda in Academic Council or without passing any resolution by the council.
3.      For how many times did Jamia Millia Islamia invite the present Lt. Governor, GNCT as a Chief Guest since 2005 to till date?
4.      Whether the speech on the occasion of General Annual Convocation-2011 of the Chief Guest is written/drafted by the University Administration.
5.      What is the legal status of Batla House Police shootout (Alleged Encounter) dated 19 Sep, 2008.
6.      How much money has been Jamia Millia Islamia authority collected from different sources to go ahead the legal battle or to help the victim of Batla House Police shootout (Alleged Encounter).
Different sources means- (a) Jamia’s Students, (b) Old Boys Body, (c) Jamia’s Staff body and (d) General Public Donation. Please give each detail separately.
7.      From encounter to till date, How much money has been spent in different legal and family support. Please provide full details information.
(a)   How much money has been given to advocate (s). Please provide the details of advocate(s) engaged in the same with their official address.
(b)   How much money has been given to victim families? Give full details of each.
8.      After appointment of as a Jamia’s VC Mr. Najeeb Jung also announced to support Batla House Encounter Victims. Please give me details of his announcement and actions.
9.      Please Provide all correspondence/communication to different Departments and various Ministries of Union of India regarding Batla House Police shootout (Alleged Encounter).
10.  Whether any committee was constituted in context of Batla House Police shootout (Alleged Encounter) by the Jamia Administration. If such committee was constituted, then kindly provide the copy of the minutes of the said committee for the said purpose. (a) Who was the chair person of the committee and also provide the details of members of the committee as well as member/secretary.
11.  Whether the said committee sought any Legal Opinion/Advices from the Legal Adviser cum Standing Counsel. Kindly provide the copy of legal communication.
12.  What are expenses is being incurred on General Annual Convocation-2011 under various break-ups.             

I am depositing the application fee (Rs.10/-) through INDIAN POSTAL ORDER (No. 92E 230213) Please put the name of the payee to whom to this postal order be made payable to.

NOTE:- a. If you do not directly deal with this application or a part there of, kindly forward it to the right PIO u/s 6(3) of RTI act with intimate to me. You are required to do so within 5 days of receipt of this application as per sec 6(3) of the act.

b. If the information sought by me is bulky or voluminous or it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question, then kindly inform me of the same. In that case I am willing to visit your office to inspect the records, files etc. (u/s Sec. 2 (j) of RTI Act 2005) at a mutually convenient time as per Sec 7 (9) if the RTI Act 2005.

c. If you want to deny any of the information sought by me then please quote the exemption clause of Section 8 (1) and a brief reason as to how it applies. This is a requirement of the RTI Act, as per Section 7 (8) (i) read along with Section 19 (5).

Thanking you...

C/o:- Faiz Ahmad Faiz
F-56/23, Sir Syed Road,
Batla House, Okhla, New Delhi-25.