New Delhi: Hundreds of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students overnight blocked traffic on the main Aligarh-Moradabad Highway demanding release of one student held for allegedly heckling the Vice Chancellor during his Republic Day speech. He was among four students who were arrested and let-off later. Around afternoon, the fourth student was also released.
On Sunday, four students were detained by the Aligarh police for allegedly trying to disrupt Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor’s speech in Strachey Hall. The students were released late night but one was student handed over to the police.
Three students — Siddharth Gulati and Tahir Azmi of the Faculty of Engineering and Rafiuddin of the Faculty of Arts — were released late night after a group of protesters collected at the gate of the AMU Proctor's office demanding the release of all four. However, Mujtaba Faraz, was sent to jail. He was released on Monday afternoon following a protest by AMU students.
According to reports, Mansoor was delivering his Republic Day speech when a group of students chanted 'Go back VC' demanding his removal over police brutality on students inside the campus on December 16 night. A minor scuffle and heated arguments broke out between two groups of students in the audience before the security staff intervened, an eyewitness told NewsClick.
The proctorial team took the protesting students to the proctor's office, before handing them over to the police. The students opposed the proctor's move to hand them over to police officials when the matter could be handled within the proctor’s office.
"I was there as my hostel Sir Syed Hall (South) is barely 100 meters from the hall where VC was delivering his speech. The boys were not violent, they just chanted 'VC go back' and proctor’s team grabbed them like they were criminals and took them to proctor office. Instead of sorting out the issue there, they handed the students over to Aligarh police," Aamir, an eyewitness told NewsClick.
Fahim, another student in the Arts Faculty, who was on the spot, said: "Isn't it an irony that the VC said in his speech that the university was committed to allowing peaceful protests on any issue within the ambit of law, while on the other, he not only allowed protesting students to be picked up by the proctorial team but also hand them over to the police? This is hypocrisy and the VC, along with Registrar, should step down."
Meanwhile, the students encircled the proctor office for hours before taking their protest to Chungi Chauraha. Earlier, the protesting students organised their separate Republic Day function at Bab-e-Syed.
Commenting on the AMU administration handing over the students to police, Maskoor Ahmad Usmani, former AMU Students Union president, told NewsClick. " The government at the Centre is using university administrations as mouthpieces and tools for establishing their arbitrary power in the campus. This is being done by stifling democratic voices in campuses. What happened on January 26, 2020, in AMU was not a matter of sending a student to police custody, who used his rights under Article 19 in front of the VC. The AMU administration is on a rampage to throttle democratic voices in the campus. The fight will be stronger now."
NewsClick made several calls to AMU Proctor Afifullah Khan to get his comments on the incident, but all of those went unanswered.
However, there seems to be no end to the unrest in AMU, as protests on campus against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have not ebbed since December 15. After the winter vacations of around a month, the protests have been continuing on the campus and over 1,200 students, including unidentified ones, have been booked in about a dozen-odd cases connected to different protests.