UP: Students Spent Nights at a Railway Station After the Sealing of the Muslim Hostel of Allahabad University
Lucknow: Dozen of Muslim students from Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, West Bengal and Bihar spent two nights at a railway station after the Muslim hostel of Allahabad University was vacated and sealed following the arrest of a man in connection with the killing of Umesh Pal, a key witness in the sensational BSP MLA murder case.
The Muslim hostel accommodates nearly 250 students in 160 rooms from various parts of countries, including Ladakh, Jammu-Kashmir, Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
"The hostel will remain closed from March 6, 2023, to Eid (April 22). Disciplinary action will be initiated against those who do not comply with (the order)," a notice from the district administration read.
Notably, semester examinations for graduation and post-graduation have already begun. The whole of March and April will be the months of examination. Some have UGC NET papers in April; some have semesters, while the hostel has been sealed till Eid. This festival is now more than a month away.
For Muslims, finding rental accommodation in Prayagraj has been traumatic for years. Now uncertainty causes students to fear their future.
"When examinations are around the corner, we have been kicked out of the hostel. We are not finding any room here, and what will we do without ID cards, books and notes? Why should 250 students be punished because of one committed crime? Isn't administration and university playing with the future of students?" a MA student, who is also preparing for UGC NET, told NewsClick.
Another hostel student pursuing an MSc told NewsClick, "I have been allotted hostel only on February 10, for which I paid Rs 18,000 a year. My exam was over on February 27, and I returned to my hometown in Deoria. Now I have come to know the hostel is sealed. My practicals are still pending. How will I appear when everything is left inside the room?" he asked.
He further said, "It is unfortunate to link the incident of February 23 with the Muslim hostel. Hundreds of such incidents have happened here before, and the names of university students have come up, but the hostel has never been sealed in this manner. No common student has ever suffered like this before."
Another student of Bihar said, "There are so many poor students living in hostels who complete their studies by giving tuition to school children. They had already paid the hostel fees. In such a situation, they do not have the option to afford a rented room.
Another student from Ladakh, whose final year of examination is scheduled for March 13, has been left in the lurch after the hostel was sealed.
"I do not know anyone here; I am not good at Hindi and finding it difficult to find a room. I am taking shelter here and there. I stayed two nights at the railway station with students from Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. The university should have arranged an alternative place for us before sealing the hostel."
Speaking with NewsClick, Irfan Ahmad Khan, Superintendent of the Muslim hostel, said, "Keeping in mind the security of other students, the rooms of the hostel have been vacated and the hostel sealed."
When asked how students would appear for the examination, scheduled to begin from March 15, when students' ID cards, books and notes were left inside the room, and the hostel was sealed, he said, "The district administration has sealed the hostel. Therefore, only the administration can solve it; the hostel authorities can't do anything as our offices have been sealed too."
Muslim Boarding House (Muslim hostel) is one of the prominent boys' hostels of Allahabad University. It was established in 1892 by Jang Bahadur Maulana Samiullah Khan to promote education in the Muslim community in the region.
WHY WAS THE MUSLIM HOSTEL SEALED?
Sadakat Khan, a resident of Ghazipur and alumnus of Allahabad University, appeared in the Umesh Pal murder case, following which he was arrested from the hostel by the STF last Monday, the police claimed.
According to the police, a conspiracy to kill Pal was hatched at the Muslim hostel of Allahabad University, and Sadakat Khan was a part of it. He was living in room number 36 of the Muslim boarding house. Sadakat Khan was arrested by the police and later sent to jail after interrogation on February 27.
Umesh Pal, a key witness in killing former BSP legislator Raju Pal, was gunned down on February 24 outside his home in Dhoomanganj in Prayagraj. While Umesh Pal succumbed the same day, his two security personnel died later during treatment. The man who fired the first shot at Umesh Pal -- Vijay Chaudhary alias Usman -- was gunned down in an encounter with Prayagraj police early Monday, officials said.
The students NewsClick spoke to said the connection of the Muslim hostel with the suspected accused is baseless as he was not arrested from the hostel, and since he is in custody, why should students suffer because of him?
"If the Muslim hostel was sealed because the alleged accused was living in the hostel, then it is the responsibility of the hostel, university administration and district administration to identify illegal people from the hostel, not students. The common students and their studies are suffering," they said.
Commenting on the problem faced by the Muslim students after the hostel was sealed all of a sudden, Ajay Yadav 'Samrat', a student leader, told NewsClick, "Rajnish Yadav was killed in 2016 at Tara Chand hostel of Allahabad University. In 2018, Achyutanand alias Sumit Shukla was gunned down at PCB hostel. Rohit Shukla was shot dead in the same hostel in 2018. No action was taken in these cases regarding how these people were living illegally in the hostel, nor was the hostel sealed then. When the court took cognisance of why this was happening, the university administration blamed the student union and after that union was dissolved. No student union has existed since then, but illegal students still live in the hostel with the help of university administration and political power."
Ajay Yadav alleged that the decision to close the hostel had been taken in malice as only Muslim students live in the Muslim Boarding House.
"Every hostel has a superintendent appointed by the Dean of Student Welfare. They all know which student is living illegally in the hostel. Still, they are giving protection and shelter to the criminal in the hostel and doing politics," the student leader alleged.
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