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Ground Report: Police Enter And “Raid” Jamia’s Boys Hostel, Students Demand Action

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By Towfeeq Wani:

In yet another brazen incident of selective harassment of the students of Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, at least four unidentified men, who the university administration believes to be Delhi police, entered the premises of the Hall of Residence for Boys in plain clothes on August 13.

The visit took place in the afternoon, triggering panic among the residents of the seven hostels. When quizzed about their identity and presence inside the campus by some students, they dodged the questions, and when the students raised a hue and cry, the police were forced to leave in a hurry. It is pertinent to mention here that the entrance of the Hall is under CCTV surveillance and is manned by Jamia Police (Jamia’s security guards) at all times.

Within no time, the students took to social media to inform other students about the incident. Less than an hour later, hundreds of students gathered near the Old Library and marched to Gate 07 where they demonstrated against the high-handedness of state agencies and incompetence of Jamia administration.

In a post shared on its Facebook wall, Jamia Students Forum expressed concern over the unexplained entry of police officials and termed the raid as ‘unconstitutional’.

“Now and then we have to face such harassment because they always see us with suspicion. Why haven’t there been such raids in other colleges and universities in and around Delhi?” A protesting student asked while showing pictures of the vehicle that had entered the campus on his phone.

Interestingly, on August 13, Jamia administration maintained that the police authorities visited the campus for “routine verification.” However, in a letter from the office of the Dean Students’ Welfare addressed to the students of Jamia on August , the administration appealed the students to “maintain calm on the campus”. The letter also accepted that “Four Delhi Police personnel in plain clothes entered the University premises without permission” and that “The DCP South East has been requested to take suitable action against these police personnel.”

The protesting students have been demanding that if the administration knew of the visit and still allowed them to enter, then the Proctor must resign and if they had no knowledge of it before the incident, they must address a press conference to condemn the police action.

A student who confronted the men said that “They were taking photographs inside the hostels, and when they proceeded to other hostels, we followed them.”

Jamia Protests Notice
Notice issued by administration of Jamia Milia Islamia.

In his defence, the Proctor has said that the police did not have permission to enter the campus and that no raid had been conducted. “I got to know this had happened when a student called me. The police had apparently told the students that they had permission, which was not true. In fact, when I asked them later how they had entered, they (police officials) apologised profusely.” 

However, DCP (south-east) told Indian Express that “The beat staff had gone to meet the proctor. There was no confusion. We did not conduct any raid and neither did anyone take pictures in the hostels. All allegations are false.” Apart from the Proctor’s defence that he had no knowledge of it, the fact that the office of the Proctor is almost a kilometre away from the hostel premises raises some serious questions about these statements.

When YKA asked a hostel resident why they were still protesting even when the Proctor and DCP had cleared their stands, he alleged that all this is not only shady but based on lies. “On the evening of August 12, certain mess workers were sent to our hostels who asked us to take extra care during the next few days and not to invite any other student inside the hostels, especially Kashmiris. If they did not know about it, why would they make us cautious?”

Another student also had similar questions,“Another important question to be raised is that why didn’t the police come in their official vehicles and uniform? Can anyone come and harass students in Jamia?”

Jamia students, especially the residents of Boys Hostel, have alleged harassment by state agencies post-Delhi terror attacks of 2005. The allegations also ran high after Batla House Encounter of 2008. However, nothing like this has happened in the past five years.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the varsity is out of the station.

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Image courtesy: @sakhan22C | Twitter
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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