Over 700 non-valid student identity cards (IDs) have been confiscated by Jamia Millia Islamia administration in the past three months, HT has learnt.
Officials said that since August at least 726 ID cards have been confiscated by security guards on campus as “outsiders” tried to enter the campus for various reasons, including theft, harassment, substance abuse and creating nuisance in the university premises. They also said students from other universities were coming to Jamia to create unrest and build political space.
Chief proctor Waseem Ahmad Khan said checking for non-valid ID cards has always been a practice at the university. However, following complaints of “increased presence of outsiders”, the varsity administration decided to implement stringent checking measures.
When asked how guards detect the false ID cards, security person Nisar Ahmad, who currently mans the university’s main gate, has a simple answer. “Their behaviour and body language is different. When they are asked for student ID cards, these people either cover the hologram on the card, or hide the photograph or just show the backside of the card,” said the guard who has been working at the varsity for over two decades.
Among the confiscated ID cards, not all are fake. Some are also expired cards of former students who want to access the campus. “People want access to our libraries. The card also doubles as a library card. We have found instances of people accessing our libraries using expired cards,” said assistant proctor Shakeel Ahmad.
Several students HT spoke with said they had experienced an increase in checking by security guards who frequently asked students for their ID cards when entering the campus. “Since the appointment of the new vice-chancellor, we have noticed an increase in checking. The guards do ask for our ID cards more frequently. The canteens are also closed earlier than usual. Earlier, canteens used to be open till 8-9pm. Now, they are mostly closed by 7.30pm,” Suhail, a postgraduate student at the university said, requesting that his last name not be used.
The administration has its explanation for the changes. “We noticed men from nearby areas coming to the campus just to hang out and sit in our canteens and parks. This cannot be allowed in view of the security concerns. We have girls’ hostels on our campus. We are in charge of their safety,” Khan said.