Eleven Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) students were allegedly asked to leave an ongoing National Cadet Corps (NCC) camp in Rohini for sporting beard. Calling it blatant “discrimination” and demanding that they should be reinstated back in the camp, the students held a protest at the university campus on Monday.According to the agitating students, they were asked to leave the camp on Sunday night after they denied to shave off their beards. “A total of 35 students from the JMI had joined the 10-day camp on December 19, of which, eleven of us sport a beard. We were repeatedly asked to shave to which we denied as it is against our religious beliefs. We were finally thrown out of the camp,” said one of the students, who did not wish to be named due to the NCC protocol.The NCC officials, however, say that the cadets other than Sikhs are forbidden from growing beard during the camps.“It’s a part of NCC’s code of conduct and not any discrimination. Nobody was asked to leave the camp,” a senior official said. Despite several attempts, NCC PRO Colonel Vikas, however, could not be reached for a comment.After staging an overnight protest outside the camp, the students continued their protest at the Jamia campus till Monday evening demanding the suspension of Jamia’s NCC in-charge Rajnish Kumar.“Our university in-charge did not help the students when they were discriminated. Some of the students have been attending the camp for the last two-three years but none of them were asked to shave,” said Aqdas Sami, a third-year Bioscience student.The students also met Vice-Chancellor, Talat Ahmad urging him to take immediate action against Kumar.“The VC assured the students that he will constitute an inquiry committee to look into the matter,” said Meeran Haider from the Jamia Students’ Forum. When DNA contacted Kumar, he denied to make any statement and said that he will submit a report to the VC. A former Jamia NCC in-charge, however, claimed that it never happened during his 30-year long association with the tri-service organisation. “Never before were the students asked to shave during the NCC camps. Ours is one of the best NCC team in Delhi,” he added. A similar issue was raised earlier in August 2015, when Andhra Pradesh Minorities Commission had issued a notice to the Director-General of NCC seeking explanation on a circular issued two years ago which had forbidden cadets, other than Sikhs, from growing beard. Later in December that year, the Commission had asked the Defence Ministry to make the exemption, granted to Sikh community applicable to Muslims, too. The matter, however, is still under examination.
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