FOURTEEN students including current and former office-bearers of the Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union (AMUSU) were booked on the sedition charge and other IPC sections Wednesday for allegedly raising anti-national slogans on the campus.
The FIR comes a day after protests on campus against a planned visit by AIMIM lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi Tuesday when some AMU students were allegedly involved in an altercation with reporters and a cameraman of Republic TV. Police said that AMU students also allegedly assaulted Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) workers outside the campus in the violence that followed. No complaint has been filed against BJYM leaders, said police.
On Wednesday, AMU students staged a protest inside the campus demanding an FIR against BJYM leaders and AMU students who supported them. Later, the university announced that eight students have been suspended on charges of indiscipline and misconduct. In the wake of the protests, the Aligarh district administration snapped internet services for a day to avoid rumours and untoward incidents.
BJYM’s Aligarh district president, Mukesh Lodhi said, “While driving past the university, I saw two student groups arguing over some issue. As I stopped my vehicle, some students forcibly dragged me out of my vehicle. When I objected, they thrashed us and also opened fire. No one got injured. The assailants raised slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and ‘Bharat Murdabad’. We somehow escaped and reached the police station.”
On Mukesh’s complaint, police filed an FIR against 14 students including AMUSU’s vice president Humza Sufyan, former AMUSU president Maskoor Ahmad Usmani and former honorary secretary Mohammad Fahad and several unidentified students at the Civil Lines police station in Aligarh.
The FIR has been lodged under various sections of the IPC including 124-A (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (rioting) and 153-B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration).
Circle Officer, Aligarh, Pankaj Kumar Srivastava said, “So far no one has been arrested in the case. We are verifying video footage and photographs of the incident to ascertain whether such slogans were raised.”
AMU public relations in-charge, M Shafey Kidwai said: “The university found these students have committed acts of indiscipline and misconduct. They have been placed under suspension with immediate effect and an inquiry has been ordered against them. The university campus and its maintained institutions are also placed out of bounds for them,” he said.
“We have sent a complaint to police to lodge an FIR against people who had attacked AMU students yesterday. Police have not lodged FIR so far.”
Additional Superintendent of Police, City, Ashutosh Dwivedi said, “We have received a complaint by AMU and the FIR will be lodged only after an inquiry into the matter.”
Sufyan said, “A section of students led by Ajay Singh raised objections over Owaisi’s visit and on Tuesday staged a protest near the university gate. Ajay and others were saying they would not allow Owaisi to enter the campus. However, Owaisi did not turn up for the meeting,” said Sufyan, who is also named in the FIR.
Ajay Singh told The Indian Express that “when Owaisi did not turn up, I left the campus and returned home. Around two hours later, I got information that a group of university students thrashed a student who was at the protest with me.”
“I went to proctor’s office to lodge a complaint. While I was talking to officials, a group of students including arrived and started abusing me. Since the proctor’s office was not ready to lodge an FIR against them, I went to the AMU registrar’s office to protest,” he said. Singh is the grandson of BJP MLA from Barauli in Aligarh, Dalveer Singh.
Meanwhile, police also registered an FIR against students and an AMU security officer on the complaint of Republic TV reporter. Police said that in the complaint, the reporter has stated that she and a colleague were assaulted by security staff and AMU students when they tried to enter the campus.