Within hours of suspending two students who were arrested in connection with the Delhi serial blasts, Jamia Millia Islamia University Vice Chancellor Mushirul Hassan declared on Monday night that the university would defend its students in court.
Asserting that the university's reputation was at stake, he said in a terse statement, "The university feels morally bound to defend its students until proven guilty and we will use the legal apparatus for this."
Professor Hassan had himself chaired the meeting that suspended Mohammad Shakeel, a student of MA (economics) and Zia-ur -Rehman, a student of final year BA (Pass). But he was persuaded by other faculty members to provide the arrested students with legal help.
Mohammad Atif Amin, the alleged ring leader killed in Friday's encounter at Jamia Nagar, was also a student of MA (human rights) in the university.
Another student, Saquib Nisaar, is in police custody for his alleged involvement in the blasts. However, the university has refused to accept that Nisaar is its student without first cross-checking his name against the students' rolls.
The encounter, in which Atif and another accomplice were shot dead, took place in the university's neighbourhood. "The incidents in the neighbouring locality have caused much concern to all of us," admitted Vice Chancellor Hassan.
Though the vice-chancellor expressed his "satisfaction as our students have remained calm and restrained in their conduct," the students themselves have been edgy about the entire episode. Concerned parents are also urging their children to take a few days' leave and go back home.
Many students, who have been staying in rented accommodations in Jamia Nagar because of its closeness to the university, have either gone home or are planning to do so. According to them, it is difficult to concentrate on studies in such an atmosphere.
Since the shootout, the area has witnessed heavy police patrolling, checkposts at every corner and regular inspections in the night.