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Arjun Singh defends Jamia decision on legal aid

September 26, 2008 15:11 IST

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Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh [Images] on Friday backed the decision of Jamia Millia Islamia University to provide legal aid to two of its students accused in the Delhi [Images] serial blasts, saying the step was in national interest.

Jamia vice chancellor Prof Mushirul Hasan met Singh to apprise him of the decision of the university to provide legal aid to the two students, a move criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

"There is nothing wrong in providing legal aid. In this case, I have got full details. Whatever Mushirul Hasan told me, I understand in this context, the decision of the university is in the interest of the nation," Singh said.

BJP has demanded dismissal of the vice chancellor and termed the decision as "atrocious, anti-national and highly objectionable".

Speaking to reporters after meeting the minister, Hasan said BJP's allegation that the university was diverting the government funds for providing legal aid was "baseless".

"Providing legal aid is the decision of the academic council. Legal aid is the constitutional right of every person. We stand by our decision. There is no question of my resignation," he said.

Noting that the classes have been running smoothly and the recent incidents have not affected the confidence of students, he said, "The confidence of students has gone up after my interaction and peace march in the campus."

Appealing to political parties not to politicise the issue, Hasan said, "If it is politicised, the repercussion will not be good."

Asked whether he was facing any threat, Hasan said it should not affect the "principle".

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