Safoora Zargar | PTI file photo
New Delhi: Jamia Millia Islamia's Department of Sociology has approved the cancellation of admission of scholar and activist Safoora Zargar, who was arrested in a 2020 riots case, due to "unsatisfactory" progress in her thesis work, a senior varsity official said.
The matter was approved by the department's Board of Studies (BoS), which is the highest decision-making body of the department.
The official said a notification by Dean's office in this regard will be issued in the coming days.
Zargar is enrolled with the Department of Sociology in the integrated MPhil/PhD programme.
She, meanwhile, has accused the administration of being discriminatory and "holding" grudges. Zargar and some Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leaders have been accused of being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 violence in northeast Delhi.
"Zargar has been given multiple extensions over the years and the university has tried to help her but her performance has been unsatisfactory. Her supervisor and Research Advisory Committee (RAC) recommended the cancellation of her admission," the official told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
The recommendation of RAC was then approved by the Department Research Committee (DRC).
"The final approval has come from the Board of Studies. We are expecting notification in this regard in the coming days," the official said.
On Wednesday, Zargar tweeted that her application for an extension of Mphil thesis submission has been put on hold for over eight months. She told PTI over the phone that she has been informed by RAC verbally that she is not being granted an extension.
"I fear that my admission will be cancelled soon. This is sheer discrimination and no official is responding. I have knocked on every possible door but to no avail," she said.
On Wednesday, Zargar also wrote to Jamia Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar that she is being subjected to undue harassment and ridicule at the hands of the administration.
"While UGC has granted five consecutive Covid extensions I have been given only one. I was forced to apply for an extension under the women scholar category, only to be denied after months citing 'unsatisfactory progress'....This is in clear violation of the guidelines laid down by UGC and points to the malafide intentions of the Supervisor and the department. I will be taking all remedial action available to me," the letter read.
The university issued a statement Thursday evening saying that Zargar did not complete her dissertation before the expiry of the Covid extension that came to an end on Feburary 6 and there is no provision for any further Covid extension as per the UGC notification as the scholar has been claiming.
"The scholar, despite the advice by her RAC, did not apply for an extension as a woman scholar within the stipulated time i.e. before the expiry of her Covid extension i.e. on 6th February 2022," the varsity said.
"And as per JMI ordinance 9 (IX) dated 13.10.2017, that governs the scholar, this extension is given by the Vice Chancellor, as per the recommendation of the RAC and the supervisor. The RAC looks at the scholar's progress and considers all the circumstances of the scholar. The scholar's progress has been very unsatisfactory, the application had been filed more than two months after the expiry of stipulated time and therefore extension cannot be given," it added.
The university said the scholar was encouraged by the supervisor to do fieldwork and complete her work from time to time.
"But the scholar did not make any progress in her work as suggested by the RAC. Her past report had also been showing unsatisfactory progress. But she was given three extensions to finish her work but she did not complete her work," the statement mentioned.
Several student organisations including, AISA, CFI, DISSC, and Fraternity Movement issued a statement condemning what they termed as "relentless harassment and unfair treatment" of a research scholar.
"This vengeful action against a women scholar who went through a pregnancy during the pandemic and still managed to do her fieldwork and complete all requirements of the course, is highly condemnable. Instead of providing all possible support to such a woman scholar the department and the university has indulged in despicable behaviour and in the most unjust and vengeful actions, for reasons best known to the department and her Supervisor," the statement added.