Under siege by anti-CAA protests, VC considers shutting down AMU
As Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) continues to be under a lockdown enforced by the students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Vice-Chancellor is considering if shutting down the varsity is the only recourse left in the present circumstances.
All academic activities at the AMU came to a halt on Wednesday as protesting students boycott classes and prevented others from appearing in examinations.
Examinations did not take place at AMU’s Zakir Husain College of Engineering and Technology for the third consecutive day as students continued to block the entrance to the venue.
V-C Tariq Mansoor, in an open letter to the university community said there was “no justification in keeping the university open” if classes and examinations are prevented from being held.
Some posters put up by student groups on the campus described the situation as a “lockdown”. The student groups are seeking the withdrawal of “false cases” against their fellow varsity mates who took part in protests against the CAA on December 15.
A violent clash had taken place between cops and a group of AMU students who were protesting in solidarity with students of Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, who had accused the Delhi police of using a heavy hand against them while dealing with violence during an anti-CAA march organised in the capital.
AMU’s Bab-e-Syed Gate was damaged and several vehicles on the campus were vandalized in the clashes that both sides accused each other of starting. Several students had been booked by the state police that also released video footage to prove students’ involvement in the violence. AMU was shut down for the winter break after the clashes and students were forced to vacate their hostels.
The protesting students are unwilling to take the blame for the academic activities coming to a standstill.
“The university was never closed by students, instead, it was Tariq Mansoor who ordered the closure of the university on December 15 and reopened it in a phased manner,” said M Salman Imtiaz, former president of AMUSU.
“As the university reopened, students decided to boycott academic activities to press for their demand for accountability on December 15 police violence,” he said.
Salman said the VC’s open letter suggesting he could close down the varsity if the students didn’t relent was not going to deter the resolve of the protesting students.
“In case, sine die is ordered, no student will vacate the campus. We believe that the university is being vacated to intimidate students whose names appear in different FIRs. They may be arrested from their homes and homes of many students have been raided in the past week. We will resist any move to forcibly vacate the campus,” Salman added.
(With input from agencies)