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Jamia Millia: Islamists and Leftist students bar ABVP from holding awareness event on waste management, shut campus gates amid chants of ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’

Imteyaz added, "I tried to talk to them. I asked them to look at my profile. I invited them to attend the event and asked them to record what I said there. There was no way I would have said anything provocative. My job is to educate people about plastic waste management."

On June 6, a heavy police force was called outside Jamia Millia Islamia University to stop students linked to Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) from holding an event on the environment. Islamists and left-wing students shut the gates of the University to bar the speaker Imteyaz Ali (renowned environmentalist) and Akshit Dahiya (President DUSU) from entering the premises for the event.

Poster of the event. Source: ABVP Jamia

They chanted slogans like ‘Nara-e-Takbeer Allah-Hu-Akbar,’ ‘ABVP Campus Chodo’ and ‘ABVP Murdabad’. The protest against the event was organized by students of CFI (Student Wing of infamous Islamist organization Popular Front of India), (Dayar-I-Shauq Students Charter) DISSC, a left-wing student organization of Jamia. The protesters were holding placards with slogans like ‘ABVP Tera Naam Islamophobia’, “Hatemongers are not allowed in Jamia’, ‘ABVP gundo Jamia chodo’ and ‘Najeeb ke hathyaron ko, ek dhakka aur do’.

Protesting students of CFI and DISSC. Source: Faisal Rajput/Facebook.

The series of events that happened at Jamia

A talk was scheduled was the members of ABVP under the banner of Students For Development at Jamia Millia Islamia on ‘Waste Management And Atmanirbhar Bharat’ from 3 PM onwards at the Centre for Management Studies Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Renowned environmentalist Imteyaz Ali and DUSU President Akshit Dahiya were invited to the event.

Speaking to OpIndia, ABVP leader Gunjan Singh Khokar said they had permission for the event. In a letter to the director of the Centre for Management Studies dated June 3, 2022, the details of the event were mentioned.

The situation got tense at the campus when the speaker and the attendees of the event were stopped at the Campus gate by CFI and DISSC students. They claimed that the speaker would give a provocative speech at the event, and they “could not allow it.” Furthermore, they were irked by the fact that the event was organized by the members of ABVP, and Akshit Dahiya, who is an ABVP leader, was invited as a guest at the event. The protesting students also claimed that Imteyaz Ali would give a provocative speech during the event, which was categorically denied by Ali himself while talking to OpIndia.

When SFD members asked the administration to open the gates and allow them to enter, they were told that no event could be allowed due to ongoing exams. Gunjan said, “It was an absurd excuse as on the same day an event was organized in the campus where UPSC topped Shruti Sharma was the speaker. Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia Prof Nazma Akhtar and other office bearers attended the event. If our event was not allowed because of the exams, how the other event was held without any issue?”

Gunjan said the gates were open till Imteyaz Ali and Akshit Dahiya arrived. As soon as they reached the gate of the University, the Proctor ordered them to close the gates. He added, “Members of SFD were held back, and their phones were taken away. They were forced to write an application and the administration also called their homes. Later, we were pushed out of the campus, but the students of left organizations remained inside the campus.”

Furthermore, he said, “They were raising slogans and abusing us, but no one asked them to stop. Only we were targeted by the administration. Later we decided to hold a 15-minute talk at the gate as there was no chance that we would be allowed inside. When we will sitting at the gate, the Police arrived and asked us to move from there.

A 15-minute talk was held outside the campus gate. Source: ABVP Jamia

We requested SHO to complete our 15-minute talk that they allowed. Towards the end, we all took an oath to save the environment. To cause more trouble, the students started raising slogans from inside while we were taking the oath. They raised slogans like Allah-hu-Akbar and ABVP Campus Chodo.”

In retaliation, SFD students raised ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Matram’ slogans. Gunjan added, “When we raised the slogans in retaliation, the Police took us away, but no one asked the students to stop sloganeering from inside the campus.” The gates remained closed for 2-3 hours. Gunjan said we were told that we should have taken permission from the Registrar and Proctor. He said, “When we were holding an event in the department, then why would we approach Registrar for the permission. We took permission from the Dean, and it was his responsibility to inform the Proctor and Registrar. As a matter of fact, we had forwarded the permission letter to Proctor as well, but we were not allowed to hold the event.”

When SFD opposed the decision of the administration, they claimed that the permission for the event was revoked to avoid a clash. Gunjan said, “In that case, what would happen if Prime Minister himself comes for an event in the future? Will they deny permission to the event where the PM is scheduled to speak on the basis of ‘avoiding the clash’? The thing is, the situation at Jamia is a person of our ideology cannot speak his or her mind freely at the campus.”

‘I am still in shock’

Speaking to OpIndia, Imteyaz Ali said he was still in shock that the protesters claimed he was there to give a provocative speech. He said, “I never associate myself with a particular party, group, organization, or ideology. For me, the environment has the top priority. It does not matter to me who has called me. I have given lectures not only at ABVP or RSS programs on the environment but also in schools, colleges, villages, government events, and others. I was in utter shock when they did not allow us to go inside, claiming I would give a provocative speech.” Imteyaz also expressed his displeasure in a Facebook post.

FB post by Imteyaz Ali expressing his displeasure. Source: Facebook.

Imteyaz added, “I tried to talk to them. I asked them to look at my profile. I invited them to attend the event and asked them to record what I said there. There was no way I would have said anything provocative. My job is to educate people about plastic waste management. I had prepared a one and half hour lecture for the same. My intention was to educate students about job opportunities in the waste management sector. Also, I had prepared a plan on how Jamia can become zero-waste in the coming years. I wanted to teach students to make their campus an example in waste management, but the administration did not allow me to speak.”

Speaking about the slogans that were raised at the campus, he said, “I do not understand why slogans like ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ were raised at the campus. These slogans have no space at an educational institute. I felt like I was standing not in India but in Pakistan.” Ali said till 1 PM no one knew the event would not be allowed, which was unacceptable.

In a reply to the comment, Imteyaz expressed how bad he felt while hearing the slogans at Jamia. Source: Facebook

He said, “I am a committee member at HRD. I will make sure to raise the issue in the ministry. I will also write to the President about the issue. I am pained to see such an environment at a reputed institute in India’s capital.”

Who is Imteyaz Ali?

Imteyaz Ali is a renowned environmentalist who specializes in plastic waste management. His waste-management model, popular as the name Bhopal Model, has been replicated by the government of India at the national level. Using his model, roads have been built using plastic waste not only in India but in 13 other nations. He is also a member of Deen Dayal Research Institute, Chitrakoot.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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