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Jamia Serves Legal Notice to Student for Defamation

In a press release from Afroz Alam Sahil, who is an RTI activist, a journalist, the convener for the Forum for Students Democracy (FSD) and an MPhil student who had quit Jamia late last year in protest over the invitation of  Lt. Governor of Delhi,Tejender Khanna, as the chief guest for a convocation ceremony at Jamia — claims that a legal advocate representing Jamia Millia Islamia has served him with a legal notice.

The legal notice, a scanned copy of which was attached with the release, accuses Sahil of “maligning” the good name and status of Jamia on NDTV, a national news channel, by accusing Jamia of having  “syphoned (sic)/misappropriated” lakhs of rupees donated by a political party for legal aid to the victims of the Batla House encounter.

The legal letter claims that no such donation was ever received by Jamia, and the allegation by Sahil is a “figment” of his “prejudiced imagination.”

For making this false claim, the letter states, Jamia demands Sahil to make a public apology in the media. And in the event he refuses to do so within seven days, Jamia will initiate legal action and will also sue him in court for damages “to the tune of rupees 50 lakhs.”

In response, Sahil states in his e-mail:

There is no iota of doubt that Samajwadi Party had given this money to the Jamia Old Boys Association for legal assistance of the victim students. Jamia Old Boys Association is very much part of Jamia which maintains its office within Jamia Millia Islamia.

He goes on further to say:

This notice is nothing but to intensify its harassment against me and targeting me and my career personally. […] My rights as a student have been regularly violated and I am being harassed at regular basis and now I am asked to pay a fine.

The release is silent on two significant counts: first, Sahil does not provide any evidence to corroborate his allegation of embezzelment against Jamia. And second, nor does he say what he plans to do in response to the legal notice. He does, however, state that he has “decided to respond the notice with my best capacity.” What he means by that is unclear.

About Khalid Jaleel

Khalid Jaleel is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. He can be reached via email at: khalidj [at] jamiajournal.com

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