The following is a statement issued by the Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Group on September 25:
At the very outset we, the members of Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Group would like to state that we strongly condemn terrorism of all kinds, including State terrorism.
The events of 19th September and subsequent days have left the Jamia community shocked, aggrieved and fearful. In particular the manner and the suspicious circumstances in which young boys, many of them students of Jamia Millia Islamia, have been picked up by the Special Cell, and pronounced "dreaded terrorists" by a trial by an utterly sensationalist and prejudiced media has created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.
On the day of the operation indiscriminate arbitrary detentions were made that included five school children living in the flat opposite and were released only late in the night. Arrests are continuing unabated. Even as some teachers had accompanied senior lawyers to meet with the families of boys picked up, on 23.09.2008, around 5 o' clock, news arrived that Saqib Akhtar, a 17-year-old boy, a distant cousin of slain Atif Amin, had been picked up from his residence in Abul Fazal Enclave. A complaint with the police was filed at the Jamia Nagar Police Station. Within an hour the Special Cell communicated to the boy's family that he would be released. It appears that the presence of a well-known Supreme Court lawyer, teachers from Jamia, and senior journalists pressured the Special Cell enough to refrain from detaining an innocent boy, and ensured that Saqib returned home safe the same evening. This incident illustrates the vulnerability of the people residing in the locality: not only are they subject to arbitrary 'arrests' by the Special Cell, which whisks them off to undisclosed locations, the local police refuses to file complaints or feigns ignorance. Further, they lack recourse to proper legal aid.
We as teachers feel that we cannot afford to isolate ourselves in intellectual ivory towers. There is an urgent need to reach out to the community which lives at our very doorstep, and where a large number of teachers, administrative staff and our students reside. The locality has been besieged by a sense of alienation, terror and insecurity. We unequivocally condemn this brazen witch hunt in the name of fighting terror and pledge solidarity with the people of Jamia Nagar, and especially the families of those whose boys have been picked up and arrested without a shred of evidence.
We hold the police and Home Ministry directly responsible for the on-going communal witch-hunt and therefore demand –
1. National Human Rights Commission recommendations regarding establishing an inquiry after every encounter be implemented and FIR against police officials involved in the act be immediately made;
2. Independent fact finding teams and even sections of the media have raised doubts about the veracity of the police version regarding the 'encounter' on 19th September and the subsequent arrests made on that basis. We therefore demand, a time-bound, independent inquiry into the deaths of Atif Ameen, Sajid and Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma headed by the sitting judge of the Supreme Court be immediately conducted;
3. Autopsy reports of Mr. Sharma. Atif Ameen, and Sajid, panchnama of the site, seizure list of the people picked up by the police for inquiry be made public.
4. We further demand that a list of students who have been picked up by the Delhi Police/ Special Cell should be provided to the University immediately. We further demand that the University authorities see to it that no students (whether living in the hostel or not) are picked up/ arrested without intimating the university authorities.
5. We also demand that no student or citizen picked up for questioning are tortured in custody and that their rights as citizens are not denied.
The Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Group would not only conduct an extensive civil society campaign including programmes like "Jan Sunwai" in the community where human rights activists and prominent members of the secular, democratic intelligentsia would be invited to join and work for providing all kinds of assistance including legal aid to people who have been accused of terrorist activities but also meet the Home Minister in order to stop the on-going communal witch hunt in the community.
The Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Group intends to extend the movement to include teachers from other universities, as well as other bodies such as the DUTA, JNUTA, IGNOUTA, and other democratic and secular individuals and organisations.
Prof. Farida Khan (Faculty of Education)
Prof. A. K. Ramakrishnan (Centre for West Asian Studies)
Prof. Janaki Rajan (Faculty of Education)
Prof. Azra Razzack (Centre for Dalit and Minority Studies)
Prof. Navnita Behera (Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution)
Dr. Neshat Quaiser (Department of Sociology)
Dr. Padmanabh Samarendra (Centre for Dalit and Minority Studies)
Dr. Sanghamitra Misra (Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution)
Dr. Ravi Kumar (Department of Sociology)
Dr. Narendra Kumar (Centre for Dalit and Minority Studies)
Dr. Rahul Ramangundam (Centre for Dalit and Minority Studies)
Dr. Farah Farooqi (Faculty of Education)
Dr. Anuradha Ghosh (Department of English)
Manisha Sethi (Centre for the Study of Comparative religions and Civilizations)
Sreerekha (Centre for Women's Studies)
Tanweer Fazal (Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution)
Ahmed Sohaib (Centre for the Study of Comparative religions and Civilizations)
Kamei Aphun (Department of Sociology)
Dr. Shahid Jamal Ansari (Centre for West Asian Studies)
Dr. Sabiha Hussain (Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies)
Ambarein Qadas (Mass Communication Research Centre)
M.G. Shahnawaz (Department of Psychology)
Waseem Ahmed Khan (Faculty of Education)
Meher Fatima Hussain (Centre for Dalit and Minority Studies)
Harpreet Kaur Jass (Faculty of Education)
Arshad Ahmed (Faculty of Education)
Dr. Sarwat Ali (Institute of Advanced Studies in Education)
Dr. Rafiullah Azmi (Centre for West Asian Studies)
Arshad Alam (Centre for Jawaharlal Nehru Studies)
Dr. Arif Ali, (Department of Biotechnology)
Adil Mehdi (Department of English)
Harisul Haq (Jamia Middle School)
Dr. Ranjeeta Dutta, (Department of History)
Dr. Shohini Ghosh, (AJK Mass Communication Research Centre)
Dr. Sabina Gadihoke, (AJK Mass Communication Research Centre)
Dr. Baran Rehman, (Department of English)