15 Dec & Now: All You Need to Know About AMU Anti-CAA Protests
Students and teachers also released a notice demanding the expulsion of the VC and Registrar by 5 January 2020.
Since the police crackdown on the campus of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Sunday, 15 December, students and teachers have been furious.
Meanwhile, Omar Saleem Peerzada, AMU’s PRO said, “After a consultative meeting based on reviewed situation it was decided that winter vacation will be extended. University is not opening today and it will open in phases. Situation in under control in the campus.”
Earlier, some 1,200 unidentified persons, including students, teachers and non-teaching staff of AMU, were booked for alleged violation of prohibitory orders under section 144, CrPC on Thursday, 26 December for taking out a candlelight march on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the students deem the police action “state-sponsored violence”, the Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union (AMUSU) urged President Ram Nath Kovind to visit the campus and meet the injured students.
At AMU, while most of the students headed back home as the college announced vacations till 5 January, several teachers and students continue to protest at the varsity relentlessly.
To show their resistance against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as well as place their demands forward, some of them had taken out a candle march on the campus on Monday as well.
STUDENTS V/S ADMIN
The AMU students have criticised their Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor of AMU for “not acting responsibly” and not safeguarding the students. The students allege that the Registrar and Proctor have only added to the same.
A group of students and teachers also released a notice demanding the expulsion of the VC Mansoor and Registrar Abdul Hamid before their session kick-starts next month. The students stated that this was their primary demand and that meeting it would determine the students' decision to join classes in January.
After the episode of 15 December, Mansoor had released a statement saying that the university administration was “left with no other choice but to call the police” after “anti-social/lumpen elements (including expelled ex-students) intermingled with students, and forcibly broke open the Bab-e-Syed gate of the university.”
He added that the decision to call the police was “timely and necessary.”
WHAT DO STUDENTS, TEACHERS WANT?
The students have alleged that when the crackdown happened on 15 December, the teachers were missing from the scene. Shortly after, the teachers condemned the police action and even took part in protests. However, the students expect them to assess and record the names of the injured, the students illegally detained, and the amount of damage done to the property.
According to a 32-page comprehensive report released by the Aligarh Muslim University Students' Union on Monday, the students have not only laid down their demands but have also explained how the night transpired and its repercussions on the students.
Apart from the demands already mentioned, some of their immediate demands are:
- They call upon President Ram Nath Kovind to visit the campus and meet students who were subjected to the 'state-sponsored violence' and withdraw his approval to CAA.
- They call upon AMU Court Members to hold a session to condemn the police brutality in the campus and set accountability for the 15 December episode.
- A high-level enquiry by the sitting judge of the Supreme Court into the incident and a strict punishment to the culprits.
It must be noted that the University has set up a one-man judicial panel – Justice VK Gupta – to conduct an internal inquiry into the incident, reported PTI.
THE NIGHT OF 15 DECEMBER
The students have claimed that no protests were planned that day, but when the news of state excesses against the students of Jamia Millia Islamia emerged on social media and TV, the students reached the Bab-e-Syed gate amid sloganeering amid heavy security by RAF and other police forces.
The students alleged that to protest, they broke open the main gate as they were not being allowed outside, following which, the students broke the police cordon and fought pitched battles with the forces.
“Nothing that demanded massive use of force, or brutal suppression was needed to quell the protests. A usual engagement would have been sufficient to disperse protests,” AMUSU stated.
Shortly after, visuals of the police breaking motorcycles with lathis, throwing stones and firing tear gas shells on the campus emerged.
A student also confirmed to The Quint that, scared for their lives, seven-eight students hid inside the Morrison Court hostel. Visuals also confirmed the police firing tear gas shells inside hostel rooms.
Around 70 students were wounded, with many suffering from post-incident trauma. A student reportedly had to get his hand amputated because the tear gas shell fell on his hand.
Among the injured were Aligarh DIG Parminder Singh and Superintendent of Police (City) Abhishek.
It must be noted that when the incident took place, the internet services were shut down in the city, which made it difficult for news to get out, allowing time for fabricated stories to build around it, the students said.
After the events of 15 December, the students were instructed to vacate the campus the next day. Since then, the students say most of them who went home continue to be haunted by the incident.
WHAT DID THE POLICE SAY?
The police, on the other hand, denied that the police used tear gas shells and stated that they had merely responded to tackle “violent protesters.”
Akash Kulhari, senior superintendent of police, Aligarh alleged that the students had pelted the security forces with stones, leaving many policemen and RAF personnel injured.
Kulhari told PTI on 16 December that they arrested 21 persons in the matter. “FIR was lodged against 56 persons and others unidentified,” he said.
Later on, the police claimed that they had released all of them.
Meanwhile, the students pledged to construct a ‘wall of resistance’ on the campus near the Maulana Azad Library to perpetuate the students' struggle against the “state terror.”
(With inputs from PTI, AMUSU’s student report)
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