Lucknow: Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) administration on Friday started the process to send its students who were stuck on the campus back to their respective hometowns, 39 days after of lockdown.
A notice issued by AMU registrar Abdul Hamid stated that as per the circular of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the students are allowed to go back to their hometown. “As no classes, examination or entrance tests are scheduled for May and June, the students should avail this facility as same may not be given in future depending on the situation,” the notice read.
Speaking to NewsClick about the update, Hamid said that aso far, students from within Uttar Pradesh were asked to return home on Friday and Saturday while travel arrangements for those from other states, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal will be made by their states in the coming days.
The AMU registrar added that no one was being forced to leave the campus, but those willing to return home can grab this opportunity.
However, students living in different hostels of the university said that at a time when it is dangerous to travel with far-reaching implications of the coronavirus crisis, they “are forced to leave campus”.
It may be noted that this move by the AMU administration has come at a time when the university has reported three COVID-19 positive cases including its resident doctor.
Also read: Lack of PPE, Masks: Protest Chorus Rises, Resident Docs in AMU's JNMC Threaten to Boycott Duties
A student living at the Sarojini Naidu (SN) Hall, who wished to stay anonymous, informed NewsClick that the students fear infection or turning out to be carriers of the novel coronavirus during the travel and that's why they do not want to go now. "The university administration in its notice said that they will not force students to go back home, only those willing to return, can. But the provost and university administration have strictly asked us to go home; otherwise, action will be taken against us,” she alleged.
Mohd. Hamza Malik, student of AMU and president of the Resident Doctors’ Association of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), told NewsClick: "More than 1,100 students of AMU were sent to their hometown on Friday and Saturday after their COVID-19 checkup. They were given a certificate that they have all tested negative and after landing home, they have to quarantine themselves for 14 days at their home. But unfortunately, the police have stopped them at several places including Bareilly, Saharanpur and other places. Many of them were forcibly quarantined at primary schools and satsang bhawan. If they had to stay at the quarantine centre for 14 days, then the AMU campus was much better."
‘FORCED TO LIVE UNDER OPEN SKY’
Hundreds of students who boarded the bus for home from university on Friday remain stranded in Saharanpur, Bareilly, Siddharthnagar, Ghazipur without basic facilities. Many students alleged ill-treatment in Siddharthnagar and reported that they were forcefully quarantined by the district administration despite having shown the negative certificate issues by the AMU administration.
Salman Imtiyaz, former president of Aligarh Muslim University Students' Union, expressed concern over the way students were being treated by the police at different places. "At a time when the World Health Organisation has issued guidelines instructing people to stay at home, how can the administration be so insensitive and allow students to travel?" he questioned.
Salman is also worried that these students can become a target of the people, especially after the media’s communalisation of the Tablighi Jamaat incident.
SIMILAR TO NOTICE BY THE BHU?
Meanwhile, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) had also issued a similar notice to send its students to their homes when the janta curfew was announced to be observed on March 22. After this advisory was circulated, female students were reportedly asked to leave the campus by evening on the same day, while male students were given a choice of staying back with their own responsibility. As the girls were “forcibly” made to leave, many boys who stayed back are struggling for food and other essentials.
Vivek Kumar, a BHU student, told NewsClick, "There are several boys on the campus. The administration distributed ration once when we raised our voice, but since then, we have been struggling for ration. The students living outside the campus, who had been waiting for hostel allotment, are living in a pathetic condition now. They have neither money to pay the rent nor ration to cook. But the administration did not bother to help them."
According to Vivek, another advisory being circulated said that beginning from Friday, students from Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Bihar would be sent to their respective hometowns but it has not yet officially been announced by the BHU administration.
ALLAHABAD UNIVERSITY SENDS THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS TO THEIR HOME
Even before the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines, Allahabad University had started sending its students to their homes, five days back.
The university reportedly made a special arrangement for students to avail bus services to Azamgarh, Ballia, Faizabad, Bahraich, Kushinagar, Gorakhpur, and Sultanpur.
Also read: COVID-19: Lack of Basic Facilities, Edible Food Aggravates Anxiety, Depression Among Quarantined Migrants in UP