Two persons were killed in a violent clash between rival groups of students inside the Aligarh Muslim University campus. After the clash, a mob, allegedly comprising outsiders, torched the proctor’s office and vandalised the dean students’ welfare (DSW) office in the campus. The violence continued till 2 am Sunday.
SP (City), Aligarh, Anshul Gupta told The Indian Express that Mehtab (22) and Mohammad Waqif (18) died during firing between the two groups. While Mehtab had been expelled last year over a case of indiscipline, Waqif lived near the campus with his family and was a Class 12 pass-out.
Trouble began Saturday afternoon, after a student named Mohsin Iqbal was beaten up by a group inside his hostel room, and an attempt made to torch his room. The same group then allegedly threatened Mohsin’s brother, also an AMU student, sources added. This led to the first clash outside Aftab Hall, which ended after intervention of the security staff.
At about 9.30 pm Saturday, Mohsin along with others reached the proctor’s office to lodge a complaint. “Meantime, a group of students belonging to a rival gang arrived on motorcycles. They were around 30 to 40 in number and were carrying weapons. After heated arguments, firing started from both the sides and went on for 15 minutes. At least 30 rounds were fired…we were helpless as the students were armed,” a member of the security staff, who was present at the spot, said.
After the firing stopped, the mob ransacked the proctor’s office, setting several documents on fire. Sources said the security personnel locked themselves inside their chambers when the firing and arson began. The mob attacked the DCW office and broke window panes before marching towards Guest House number 2. On the way a car was torched, and two other cars were vandalised.
“I locked myself inside the hall . They were abusive and violent. They fled only after police arrived,” said Abdul Ajiz, caretaker at the guest house.
Vice Chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah said, “The disturbing incident of firing and arson in AMU campus by two groups of primarily ex-students is regrettable. This disorder was the result of an old rivalry between two groups. Groupism requires strong action and this process has commenced.”
AMU PRO Rahat Abrar said the university had decided to get the matter probed by an independent high-level committee.
After an emergency meeting of top AMU officials, the V-C said that it was necessary to identify elements that “instigated” the violence. The university has also stopped “internet accessibility” at its “Halls of residence from 2 am to 6 am”.
SP Gupta said four separate cases, including of murder and arson, had been registered and attempts were on to identify the students and outsiders involved in the incident. He added that it looked like a clash between groups for establishing supremacy in the campus.
Police sources said six youths including students, who used weapons, had been identified. Police have requested the university administration to provide CCTV footage.