A day after two Kashmiri students from the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) were booked for sedition, students from the state have threatened to leave the campus on October 17 if the charges against them aren’t dropped, a university official said on Saturday.
The threat was conveyed through a letter, signed by “students of Jammu and Kashmir”, was delivered to the Proctor Mohsin Khan. “I have spoken to the Proctor who confirmed receiving a letter,” AMU public relation in-charge M Shafey Kidwai said. When The Sunday Express asked Kidwai if the letter could be considered authentic, written by Kashmiri students, he responded that he “believed it was”. He said there were 950 students from the state.
Earlier, Waseem Ayub Malik and Abdul Haseeb Mir were suspended after they allegedly attempted to offer funeral prayers in the campus after security forces killed militant Kupwara resident Mannan Bashir Wani in North Kashmir last week. Wani was a former PhD student from AMU until he was expelled after a photograph of him appeared on social media with a message claiming he had joined the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. Aligarh police has slapped sedition charges against Malik, Mir and several unnamed students.
“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,” the letter read. “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.”
They added that the Kashmiri students fraternity at AMU strongly condemned the “fabricated allegations and systematic vilification campaign” them. “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and showcause notices (against students) are not revoked immediately, and sedition and relevant charges are not withdrawn then we, the students from the state of Jammu and Kashmir at AMU will be forced to leave the campus en-masse on Sir Syed Day (October 17) for reasons of safety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,” read the letter.
Kidwai said the university cannot dictate the police investigation. “The Proctor said that though their claim of no namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayers) being conducted at the university has merit, we will investigate the matter. No innocent will be punished, but if we have evidence against anyone, we would take action,” said Kidwai. “As far as their demands are concerned, we cannot do anything regarding the FIR registered by the police. A three member committee is already investigating the matter and has to submit report by Monday. 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.”