1,200 Kashmiri students in Aligarh Muslim University threaten to return home on October 17
Kashmiri students studying in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have threatened to leave for their homes on October 17, if the sedition charges against three of them are not dropped.
In a letter to AMU vice-chancellor, AMU students union former vice-president Sajjad Rathar said, “If this vilification does not stop, more than 1,200 Kashmiri students will leave for their homes in the Kashmir Valley on October 17 as a last option.”
Terming the slapping of sedition charges as “vendetta”, Rathar said, “The option of holding Namaaz-e-Janaza (prayer meeting) in absentia was dropped after the AMU authorities did not give the permission.”
“If no prayer meeting was held as confirmed by all official agencies, the slapping a case of sedition against three Kashmiri students is simply a vendetta, harassment and denial of justice,” he said.
The letter was handed over to AMU Proctor Mohsin Khan in presence of large number of Kashmiri students at his office on Saturday night.
AMU spokesman Shafay Kidwai, however, denied the Kashmiri students’ charges of harassment and stressed that “no innocent would be framed”. Prof Kidwai also made it clear that “there is zero tolerance for any anti-national activity on AMU campus”.
Three Kashmiri students of AMU were booked on sedition charges for allegedly for raising “anti-India” slogans and trying to hold a prayer meeting for Hizbul Mujahideen commander Manan Bashir Wani on October 12 (Friday).
Twenty seven-year-old Wani, pursing a PhD course in Allied Geology at the AMU, had quit the university and joined militant ranks in January this year. He was killed in an encounter at Shatgund village in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Thursday.
Aligarh’s senior superintendent of police Ajai Sahni said police took the action (on October 12) after a video surfaced, showing the three Kashmiri students raising “anti-India” slogans.
Prof Kidwai said show cause notices have been issued to nine students for trying to hold an unauthorised gathering Thursday. “A three-member inquiry committee has been set up to probe the incident. It will submit a report in the next 72 hours,” he said.
The three students were suspended from the AMU earlier.
Some AMU students from Kashmir had on Thursday (October 11) gathered near Kennedy Hall on the campus to hold funeral prayers for Wani, following which the varsity staff and the students union leaders had rushed to the spot and tried to stop them.
A heated exchange erupted between the students union leaders and the Kashmiri students and they finally moved out of the area, Kidwai said, adding three Kashmiri students were suspended for trying to hold the “unlawful” gathering.
He said the university has made it clear that it has a zero tolerance policy for any act which could even remotely be described as anti-national.
AMUSU president Faizul Hasan had told PTI that he had always championed the cause of freedom of speech but any act of treason or terror was unacceptable to the students’ union.
He said they will not allow the university to be defamed by any person who indulges in such unlawful activity.
BJP lawmaker from Aligarh, Satish Gautam said those who tried to hold a prayer meeting for Wani on the AMU campus should be expelled.
Kashmir MLA detained for holding protest in solidarity with AMU students
Langate MLA Sheikh Abdul Rasheed was detained on Sunday for taking out a protest march here in “solidarity” with Kashmiri students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), who were booked on sedition charges.
Talking to reporters before the march, Rasheed said offering funeral prayers for anyone, including Wani, was not a crime “but a fundamental religious obligation”.
“The AMU administration has filed charges of sedition against Kashmiri students only under pressure from local BJP leaders just to polarise the issue and gain electoral dividends. Whatsoever is being attributed to the students is absolutely false and baseless,” he alleged.
The MLA said Kashmiri students “are being targeted only for the reason that they are Kashmiris and being a Kashmiri has become a crime in India”.
“Every Kashmiri stands with the students who are being subjected to mental torture and harassment not only at the AMU but everywhere in India. We demanded withdrawal of FIR against the students and seek revocation of suspension orders of the students who have been accused of raising anti-India slogans,” Rasheed said.