AMU's Kashmiri students protest against sedition charges, ‘harassment’
Aligarh, Oct 15: Kashmiri students studying at the Aligarh Muslim University organised a protest march on the campus Monday against slapping of sedition charges on their three peers and alleged harassment by local authorities.
The students marched from the Sir Syed Gate to the office of Vice Chancellor Prof. Tariq Mansoor.
Five of the protesting students met the university registrar Abdul Hamid and handed over a memorandum alleging that they were living in a state of constant fear.
On Saturday, sedition cases were registered against the three students for allegedly raising "anti-India" slogans and trying to hold a prayer meeting for Hizbul Mujahideen commander Manan Bashir Wani, a aluminous of the varsity who was killed in an encounter with the government forces in north Kashmir, officials had said.
"Police filed an FIR against Wasim Malik, Abdul Mir and one unnamed person. They have been identified on the basis of a video recording," Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ajai Sahni had said.
The protesting students said in their memorandum Monday that if the sedition charges were not withdrawn, more than 1,200 Kashmiri students would leave the campus on October 17 after presenting their case during the alumni meet on October 16, as part of the Sir Syed Day celebration.
AMU registrar Abdul Hamid told mediapersons, "We have made it clear that no innocent person is going to be harassed. Any punitive action would be taken only after we receive the report of a three-member enquiry committee headed by AMU proctor Prof Mohsin Khan."
He said there would be no witch-hunt against any student.
Pertinently, in the wake of the suspension of the three Kashmiri students, more than 1,200 students from Jammu and Kashmir studying at the varsity have threatened to leave for their homes on October 17, if the sedition charges against the three were not dropped.
In a letter to Proctor, AMU, students of Jammu and Kashmir, studying at the university said “no prayers or any relevant activity was observed and the directions of the AMU Proctor were duly followed”.
“The tense situation as reported in the media caused a serious concern among the students at Aligarh Muslim University. The students at the university in panic were discussing the situation emerging in the valley at the Kennedy Hall Lawn, and were peacefully talking among each other. No prayers or any relevant activity was observed, and the directions of the AMU – Proctor were duly followed,” the students said in the letter.
They said some non-Kashmiri people armed with ‘lathis’ (batons or sticks) attacked the sitting students and caused massive disturbance and noisy scenes.
“However, the Kashmiri students dispersed immediately and no protest or law and order violation took place. Later, a vilification campaign against the students from Jammu and Kashmir was started by media that Kashmiri students violated the law and disturbed the peace in the campus. Though nothing of that sort had happened and the same was later confirmed by PRO AMU to the media,” the letter read.
The students said they strongly condemn the “fabricated allegations and a systematic vilification campaign” against the students and the university.
“We take strong objection to fabricating cases against Kashmiri students and thereby attempting to jeopardize our career. We, the students from Kashmir are law abiding and did not breach the guaranteed freedom of speech, or act,” they said adding peace at AMU campus has always been the first priority of all Kashmiri students.
Referring to the suspension of students by the university and subsequent sedition charges, the Jammu and Kashmir students refuted the allegations of violation of law and order and demanded an end to “defamation of highly educated Kashmiri scholars”.
“We demand an immediate revocation of suspension orders/show cause notices and an urgent withdrawal of the sedition charges and relevant legal sections against AMU scholars. Imposing such sections is to threaten the Kashmiri students at the university and is a cause of serious concern. We cannot stay at the campus with the burden of these politically motivated and fabricated charges,” they said.
The students threatened to surrender their degrees and leave for their homes if the suspension is not revoked and case withdrawn by Wednesday.
“In case, the suspension/show cause notices are not revoked immediately and sedition charges and relevant charges are not withdrawn, we the students from the state of Jammu and Kashmir at AMU will be forced to leave the campus en-masse on Sir Syed Day (17 October).
“We, the 1200 students will surrender our degrees and leave for our homes for reasons of safety and security. All the responsibility in that case will fall on the university, and local administration. We are feeling threatened and challenged and our career development is under stake, under such fearful circumstances,” the letter reads.