An uneasy calm prevailed on the Aligarh Muslim Univeristy (AMU) premises on Saturday after violent clashes between two rival student groups around 11pm on Friday. The warring students opened fire at each other and 11 students were injured in the fight.
The varsity was closed sine die (indefinitely) this morning, but student groups resisted the order to vacate the hostels.
Simmering discontent among student groups since the students’ union elections in January is suspected to be a reason for the clashes, but the flare-up occurred after some staff in the examination controller’s office allegedly assaulted a student leader, Musthaq Ahmad, on Thursday after an argument over a change in address in admission form.
The alleged beating up of the student leader brought the rival student groups face to face and they clashed in a market, which shut down amid pelting of
stones and firing. The students misbehaved with a sub-inspector who tried to stop the fight.
Later, a group of students went to the proctor office to complain about the clashes but had another altercation with students already sitting in the office. Stones were hurled again and shots were fired from the proctor’s office.
A strong police contingent has been deployed in the campus after the clashes.
Meanwhile, the university’s teachers’ association as well as the students’ body (AMU students’ union) have challenged the sine die and opposed the district administration’s involvement in decision-making at the university after the clashes.
AMU students’ union president Abu Affan Farooqi said the sine die was uncalled for. “It is affecting 28,000 students of AMU and those coming for entrance exams. We will not vacate hostels and if the administration uses force, it will be responsible for the consequences,” added Farooqi.
This is the third sine die in AMU during the four-year tenure of vice chancellor Prof PK Abdul Azis, who is currently in Kerala. He told HT on phone the university would be reopened shortly. He justified the closure of the university and said the university authorities had saved the lives of several innocent students who were being used by anti-social elements and other persons to turn the campus into a battlefield.