AMU reopens, anti-CAA marches continue
The Aligarh Muslim University re-opened on Monday after a prolonged winter vacation even as teachers at the university led a protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC).
In compliance with the high court order, a seven-member team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) reached the AMU campus to probe the alleged police excesses on December 15, when the AMU administration called the police in apprehension of protests spilling out of the campus or turning violent.
“Teachers returned to duty as the varsity opened on Monday after winter vacation. The university was abruptly closed after violence on December 15 when exams were going on. The exams will now begin from January 17,” said AMU spokesperson professor Shafey Kidwai.
“As announced earlier, the varsity will open in phases and so engineering, medicine, Unani medicine and management faculties opened on Monday. Science, life sciences and agriculture faculties will open on January 20 and social and arts faculties on January 24,” he said.
Kidwai said vice chancellor professor Tariq Mansoor would hold a discussion with senior students for smooth functioning of the varsity.
Reacting to reports of students boycotting the classes on Monday, Kidwai clarified that since the exams were to begin on January 17, the classes were closed for the semester.
Meanwhile, the Aligarh Muslim University Teachers Association (AMUTA) held a protest march on the campus. “The teachers interacted with the students and asked them to continue with protests but not at the cost of academics,” AMUTA secretary, professor Nazrul Islam, said.
“The teachers’ fraternity in AMU rejects the present form of CAA/NRC/NPR and urges the Government of India to review its decision. With the academic career of students at stake, the vice chancellor is requested to instill confidence among students and take all measures to help in removing the names of falsely implicated students in police cases,” he said.
“We urge the students to continue their fight against injustice but within the ambit of law and attend classes so that they are not at a loss,” he said.
Beginning its probe into the police action on Monday, the NHRC team visited hostel rooms in which the Aligarh police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) had allegedly damaged students’ belongings.
“The NHRC team, led by IPS officer Manzil Saini is expected to stay on the AMU campus for a day or two to probe the complaint of police excesses,” said Proctor Prof Afifullah Khan.
Clashes had erupted in AMU following police action against demonstrators at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 15 during protests against the CAA and NRC. During a confrontation between the protesting students and the police, students allegedly pelted stones and fired with illegal firearms. The police, in retaliation, resorted to lathi charge, water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets.