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Rejoinder
AMU affairs – situation unsatisfactory
By Prof Ziauddin Ahmad, Aligarh

Apropos of ‘No move to abolish AMU Character’ by Masood Hasan (MG, 1 February) based on the interview of the V.C., Mr Hamid Ansari and his assertion that all is well with the university, is misleading.

Under the superficial calm on the campus, AMU continues to nurse the trauma inflicted by the onslaught of the State machinery in September 2000 and is deeply concerned with the future of Mobin, an internee BUMS, now in jail (implicated in bomb blasts) and four other students and two ex-students, absconding (who were charged with assaulting the IB officer).

It may be recalled that Mobin was picked up from the Campus on 3.9.2000 by plain cloth policeman from Agra without arrest warrant, without informing the University, the guardian and the local police (thus violated the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court). He was shown to have been arrested from Agra on 4.9.2000. The University had to file a FIR of the disappearance of Mobin on 3.9.2000 itself.

Secondly, out of the ten named, six were finally booked on fabricated charges of confinement, attempts to murder and obstructing the IB officer from discharge of duties.

The University lodged a FIR on the unauthorised presence of the officer. Had the University pursued the cases in the court of Law or taken up with the State Government, the police cases would have not stood scrutiny and fallen apart. But unfortunately, the students are left to fend for themselves alone. The V.C. seems content with the apparent calm on the campus brought by the timely intervention of the Millat, teachers and students. Is it not incumbent on the V.C. to at least take up the matter with the state government to withdraw the cases if he is not inclined to go to court after seeking the cooperation of the community, which would naturally be forthcoming.

Minority Character
It needs to be spelt out first as to what is exactly meant and understood by the minority character as contained in the Amendment AMU Act of 1981- under section 2(1) (preamble) the educational institution of their choice established by the Muslims of India’ Section 5(2) (c) (powers of the university);’ to promote especially the educational and cultural advancement of Muslims of India’ and Section 23 which declared the court as the Supreme Governing body, with predominance of Muslims representing all shades of opinion in the country and the statute 2(1) empowering the University to propose a panel for appointment of a V.C. by the visitor. A full-length discussion is required to fully understand the matter and situations prevailing and calls for a separate write-up. However, for the moment, it would suffice to mention that the benefits enshrined under section 5(2) (c) and section 23 referred above were not allowed to reach us because the vice-chancellors continued to misinterpret the provisions and the court has not been allowed to function properly since its inception in 1981 and to play its role. Besides depriving thus, there were indirect ways adopted to harm us; Mr Mahmoodur Rehman recognized institutions in the country and outside, for the purpose of teaching, examination and award of degrees by the University, amounting to affiliations without mentioning it. The present V.C. has made the national eligibility test ‘NET’ conducted by UGC (which is difficult to qualify like IAS examination) as an essential qualification for appointment of lecturers in the University and affected certain amendments in admission rules (raised the eligibility level, reduced seats in Tibbiya, done away nominations and combined competitive tests etc.) to the disadvantage of internal students (The Staff (teachers) Association declared these steps as anti-University).

University Functioning
As regards the functioning of the University, readers may make their own assessments on the basis of the following:
1. Elections to the Students Union were deliberately not held in spite of repeated assurances by the V.C. to the effect and swearing to restore democratic functioning.
2. Meetings of the policy-making authorities are not regularly held and are not democratically conducted and the V.C. imposes his views. The court has not been allowed to play its pivotal role since 1981. Meeting of the court has not been convened since May 2000 (The Association had registered its protests) Election of 25 representatives to the court were not allowed to be held for the last two decades by the University. All communications from the government and the UGC are treated as orders and sacred by the V.C. and implemented, compromising the autonomy and special status of the Alma mater.
3. Violation of rules is the way of life. The V.C. is on record to have observed (meeting of EC held on 13.3.2001) that any action can be taken if not so debarred by the Act. Ignorance is bliss and the esteem in which the law held is evident.
4. Excessive use of the so called emergency power under section 19 (3) of the Act including its misuse in matters which do not fall in the purview of the Authority concerned (Staff association protested).
5. Law and order situation is alarming. Outsiders and undesirable elements continue to reside in hostels and getting fed too.
6. Failure to enforce the attendance rule of minimum 75 percent in class rooms. Because of lack of vision and necessary commitment the raising of academic standards – teaching & research continue to take the back seat.
7. Departments have shortage of equipment, library facilities and room and lab spaces. Teachers of clinical departments of the Medical College continue to engage themselves in private practice un-checked.
8. Enquiry in the mal-functioning rather plundering by the former V.C. is not being conducted in spite of repeated demands of the staff association. This speaks volumes of way the affairs of the university are taken care of.
As such, in the remaining tenure of Mr Hamid Ansari what remarkable result could be achieved is anybody’s guess.
q

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