KL NEWS NETWORK
Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) chairperson Hameeda Nayeem Sunday expressed anguish over the ‘interpretation’ given to Kashmir University events by “various quarters” across the political divide and some civil society groups.
“The students, political parties and groups who have issued statements against the university VC suffer from misperception about the powers of VC and of the events on the campus,” she said.
“First of all let the truth be told. The fact of the matter is that university has nothing to do with the arrest of Muzzamil but has a duty to try to get him released. When the news of his arrest was given to me as Head of the Department by his mates on June 24 morning, I called the Vice Chancellor and informed him about the same with the request that he should use his good offices to get him released soon as the boy has been regular and punctual in his classes and can’t have anything to do with non-academic activities he is alleged with,” Hameeda Nayeem said in a statement to KNS.
“The VC took the matter very seriously and made calls to quarters concerned but got no response. The police officer did not even pick up his phone in the first instance. Meanwhile, the students gathered to protest at 10 AM. When I reached the spot in front of Humanities Block where they were silently protesting, I asked them to call off the protest after an hour or so and resume usual class work as VC stands informed and he will try his best for Muzzamil’s release. They did not agree saying that they will not attend classes till Muzzamil is released and later marched to VC’s Secretariat,” she said.
“In the afternoon it was raining heavily and I got worried about their well being. I went to see them at the entrance of VC’s office and requested them to call off the strike at least till tomorrow as they were all drenched in rain and tried to make them understand that it could take more time and VC does not have any power in this. They reiterated that they would continue to strike till their classmate is released. After my intervention, VC came down and requested the students to go home as he is trying his best to get the boy released. It is for the first time in the history of the university that VC came down from his room and personally requested the students and assured them that he would leave no stone unturned to get the boy released. Till date I have seen only emissaries of VCs’ speaking to the agitating students,” she clarified.
“Next day I went to North Campus to conduct interview for contractual teachers which was already scheduled. On my way back I got calls from students that the matter took an ugly turn when some persons from the huge number of assembled protesters from the entire university pelted stones at the VC’s Secretariat and police retaliated with their ‘favourite tactics’ some said by firing and others said by shelling and manhandling even girls students which is most despicable and strongly condemnable. I can’t think even in my wildest imagination that VC could order either firing or shelling at the students. Policemen act according to their ‘standard practices in the valley’ or under the command of their own officers. They do not take orders from the VC,” she added.
“Herein lies the crux of the matter. Students and the society think that VC is all powerful and could get the boy easily released but didn’t. They think it is he who gave the orders for action against protesting students. They forget the fact that our state has been turned into a militarized, securitized, police state. Every other civil institution is powerless before the so-called security structure. Nobody understands the powerlessness of the VC before state agencies. He did what he could but before the oppressive agencies his cry fell on deaf ears so far with only assurances of the boy’s release. It is the government which could have intervened or could do so now to get the boy released (who has been picked up on flimsy grounds that his phone has been used by some militant) for restoring normalcy in the university. But they kept mum which is intriguing. They left the VC in lurch! Are they not happy with a V C whose appointment is not political but purely on the basis of his academic worth for the first time after decades in our university? Do the politicians have a hand in creating the volatile situation and thereby try unsuccessfully to force the VC out of his office? Because none of our students has resorted to stone pelting as they would not destroy their own home by so doing. It is elements from outside the university who have done it,” she added.