By announcing that it would provide legal aid to its students who have been arrested on terror charges, Jamia Millia Islamia has affronted the nation and the taxpayer. Mohammad Shakeel, a second-year MA student, and Zia-Ur-Rehman (third year BA) were arrested by Delhi Police for their alleged involvement in serial blasts in the national capital. Jamia'smedia coordinator Rakhshanda Jalil said, ?The university has now decided to provide legal help to the two students caught on Sunday.? He argued that since the two are students of Jamia, ?the university feels it is a responsibility to safeguard them until they are proven guilty.? This is the most brazen support to jehad. Since when did the varsities begin fighting the cases for their students? It is not the first time that the students of an Indian university have been arrested, but there is no precedent of the academic dons providing legal aid to criminals. So, why do the Jamia bosses feel that it is their ?responsibility to safeguard them until they are proven guilty? is open to interpretation. Unfortunately, it is not just the Jamia authorities which are sympathetic to Shakeel and Zia. ?Jamia does not have a students? body that can fight for the students? rights,? an agitated professor said. ?After Friday'sencounter, no one can now speak openly about the students.? Hence Jamia'sintervention.
A large section of Muslims seem determined to believe that Atif, Shakeel, Zia and their comrades in arms were innocent students who have been unreasonably killed and arrested or are being hounded by the security agencies. Earlier, it was said that the shootout was a cock-and-bull story created by the police. But the death of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma practically buried the charge?at least for some time?for the charges of ?fake encounter? are still being made by many Muslims. The actions of Jamia dons will bestow some authenticity to the wild rumours doing the rounds in the community. And, pray, what are the moderate Muslims doing? Jamia Vice-Chancellor Mushirul Hasan said that he would take steps to look into the ?well being? of his students. This is the reaction of a most suave Muslim scholar, who waxes eloquent about the country's?composite culture? and the Sufi tradition and quotes Mahatma Gandhi. And what does he do? He makes the public exchequer pay for the sins of the alumni of his varsity. In fact, it is double whammy for the taxpayer: he pays for the running of Jamia and other Muslim institutes; and when they breed fundamentalism, he is also made to pay for the jehadis? lawyers. The war on terror has become a cruel joke.