Days after two Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students were booked by the police for sedition, over 1,200 students from Jammu and Kashmir have threatened to leave the campus if the charges against the duo are not dropped by the administration. In a letter addressed to proctor Mohsin Khan last week, students of Jammu and Kashmir stated that they will leave the campus on October 17 if the sedition charges are not withdrawn.
The tension at the campus started when two Kashmiri students allegedly held namaaz-e-janaza (prayer meeting) for Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Manan Bashir Wani who was killed by security forces on October 12. Wani, 27, was a student at the university. But in January earlier this year, he had quit the university and joined Hizbul Mujahideen. He was killed in an encounter in Handwara area of Kupwara district in north Kashmir.
Police confirmed that two students from Kashmir have been booked under charges of sedition for holding a prayer meet. They have been identified as Wasim Malik and Abdul Mir. Aligarh SSP Ajai Sahni said that the action against the students was initiated by the police on October 12 after a video surfaced showing the three Kashmiri students raising ‘anti-India’ slogans. “A terrorist was killed in an encounter with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. There have been reports of an unlawful assembly in AMU to mourn the killing of the terrorist. Some videos have also come into our notice where people can be seen raising anti-national slogans. Initiating action on the same, FIR has been registered against two individuals and few unnamed persons for raising slogans of Azadi. The two boys named in the FIR are from J and K. We are also examining videos in which some other people are also there. A probe is on to identify and find other people involved.”
AMU public relation in-charge M Shafey Kidwai said that students have sent a letter to the Proctor threatening to leave the campus. “I have spoken to the Proctor who confirmed receiving a letter,” he told The Indian Express.
Quoting excerpts from the letter, the IE report said that students have claimed no prayer was organised near the Kennedy Hall Lawn and they were only discussing the current situation in the Valley.
“The students at the university, in panic, were discussing the situation emerging in the valley at the Kennedy Hall Lawn and were peacefully talking among each other,” it reads. It said that a few non-Kashmiri people in the meantime gathered at the venue and attacked the students.
“No prayers or any relevant activity was observed, and the directions of the AMU proctor were duly followed. Meanwhile, some non-Kashmiri people armed with lathis attacking the students. However, the Kashmiri students dispersed immediately and no protest or law and order violation took place,” the letter adds.
Terming the allegations ‘fabricated’ and ‘systematic vilification campaign’, the letter said: “In case the suspension and showcause notices (against students) are not revoked immediately, and sedition and relevant charges are not withdrawn then we, the students from the state of Jammu and Kashmir at AMU will be forced to leave the campus en-masse on Sir Syed Day (October 17) for reasons of safety and security.”
Proctor Mohsin Khan said that though the students are claiming no namaaz-e-janaza was conducted, “we will investigate the matter”. Kidwai assured that no innocent will be punished. “But if we have evidence against anyone, we would take action.”
When asked about the students demand to drop sedition charges, he said, “As far as their demands are concerned, we cannot do anything regarding the FIR registered by the police.”
Kidwai said that a three-member committee is already investigating the matter. “In the showcause notice, the accused students have been given time to explain themselves. These things are not going to change and we will act as per the investigation report and the response to the showcause notice,” he said.
Meanwhile, BJP MP from Aligarh Satish Gautam said that those who are holding prayers for terrorist Wani inside the university campus should be expelled.