AMU students end agitation after assurance from varsity officials
Aligarh (UP), Feb 19 : Students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) ended their six-day-old agitation here to protest against the booking of 14 students under sedition charges, after a meeting between varsity administration, district officials and leaders of the students' union.
The dharna ended midnight on Monday after the agitating students were assured by the district authorities that no vindictive action would be taken against any student in the meeting that took place at the residence of AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor.
Fourteen AMU students, including their union chief, were booked under sedition charges after violence broke out between two student groups on the campus on February 12 over reports of a planned visit by AIMIM lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi.
The protest intensified on Monday after the arrest of a student from the university campus on Sunday night.
AMU spokesman Professor Shafey Qidwai said, "The protesting students have agreed to end their dharna after the district authorities gave an assurance that no vindictive action will be taken against any student and justice will be meted out after carefully scrutinising all allegations as per the law."
Qidwai said that the campus atmosphere was expected to "rapidly normalise".
District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh told reporters, "We have given an assurance that no innocent student would be harassed. Further action including arrest of those named in the FIRs would only be taken after a thorough inquiry."
Leaders of the AMU students union, while addressing the protestors on Monday afternoon gave a call for a 'jail bharo andolan' urging the students to court arrest in protest against the manner in which AMU students had been unfairly booked under stringent sections including sedition.
President of AMU students union Salman Imtiaz told reporters, "We have written to the President, who is also the university's Visitor asking him to intervene in this grave crisis."
"We are anguished over the fact that whereas fourteen of our students were charged with sedition our FIRs were not even registered," he added.
The AMU Vice Chancellor welcomed the students' decision to call off the agitation and urged them to restore the peaceful atmosphere on the campus as the country was passing through a "difficult phase" following the threat to its national security which "stems from the despicable terrorist attack in Pulwama".
In an open letter to the student community and their parents, Mansoor wrote, "The AMU has always stood with the nation in its darkest hours and we will continue to do so... Students should display exemplary behavior at this critical juncture."
"Let us be ready to pay our debt to the nation in blood," he said in the letter, being sent to every hostel room in the university and the parents of all students.