Mehbooba Mufti protests sedition charges on AMU students, calls Manan Wani ‘victim of relentless violence’ in Valley

The three students were booked on Friday for allegedly raising "anti-India" slogans and trying to hold 'namaz-e-janaza' (prayer meeting) for Wani, a day after he was killed in a gun battle with security forces in north Kashmir's Handwara district.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 15, 2018 9:55:47 pm
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday demanded the withdrawal of sedition charges against three Kashmiri students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) who were booked after they allegedly tried to hold a prayer meeting for slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Manan Bashir Wani. She also asked the Centre to intervene in the matter.

The three students were booked on Friday for allegedly raising “anti-India” slogans and trying to hold ‘namaz-e-janaza’ (prayer meeting) for Wani, a day after he was killed in a gun battle with security forces in north Kashmir’s Handwara district.

“Pushing youth to the wall will be counter productive. Centre must intervene in withdrawing cases against students & AMU authorities must revoke their suspension,” Mufti posted on Twitter.

She further said that state governments outside Jammu and Kashmir should be “sensitive” to the situation and “prevent further alienation”. “It will be a travesty to punish them (students) for remembering their former colleague (Wani) who was a victim of relentless violence in Kashmir,” the PDP president added.

In a response, National Congress leader Omar Abdullah said that Mufti is in no position to criticise anyone for “relentless violence” as she was the “architect and beneficiary” of such incidents during her time as the chief minister of Kashmir. Omar tweeted:

Twenty-seven-year-old Wani, who was pursuing a PhD course in allied geology at the AMU, had quit the university and joined militant ranks in January this year.

Meanwhile, more than 1,200 Kashmiri students of the university staged protest in the campus on Monday and threatened to leave for their homes on October 17, if the sedition charges against the three were not dropped. According to PTI, the students also handed over a letter to the Proctor of AMU, stating that “no prayers or any relevant activity was observed” and they strongly condemn the “fabricated allegations and a systematic vilification campaign” against the students and the university.

READ | AMU students face sedition charge after funeral prayer bid for militant killed in J&K 

“The tense situation as reported in the media caused a serious concern among the students at Aligarh Muslim University. 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. No prayers or any relevant activity was observed, and the directions of the AMU – Proctor were duly followed,” the students said in the letter.

They said some non-Kashmiri people armed with lathis attacked the sitting students and caused massive disturbance and noisy scenes.

“However, the Kashmiri students dispersed immediately and no protest or law and order violation took place. Later, a vilification campaign against the students from Jammu and Kashmir was started by media that Kashmiri students violated the law and disturbed the peace in the campus. Though nothing of that sort had happened and the same was later confirmed by PRO AMU to the media,” the letter read.

The students also said that the cases laid against them threaten to jeoperdize their career and that they are law abiding people and did not breach the guaranteed freedom of speech, or act.

Referring to the suspension of students by the university and subsequent sedition charges, the Jammu and Kashmir students refuted the allegations of violation of law and order and demanded an end to “defamation of highly educated Kashmiri scholars”.

“We demand an immediate revocation of suspension orders/show cause notices and an urgent withdrawal of the sedition charges and relevant legal sections against AMU scholars. Imposing such sections is to threaten the Kashmiri students at the university and is a cause of serious concern. We cannot stay at the campus with the burden of these politically motivated and fabricated charges,” they said.

(With PTI inputs)

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