ALIGARH — Thousands of students of Aligarh Muslim University on Thursday gathered at the main gate of the campus to silently protest against the Hindu Vahini members’ forced entry into the AMU campus and police lathi-charge on the protesting students on Wednesday. They were demanding arrest of the saffron outfit’s members and action against the police officers.
In an emergency meeting Wednesday night, the AMU Students Union decided to boycott the classes for five days and hold indefinite silent protest at the main gate of the campus to press their demands.
Scores of members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini allegedly carrying weapons and saffron flags had tried to forcibly entre the AMU campus through its main gate. They were angry over a portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah at the office of AMU Students Union. A scuffle ensued between the saffron activists and AMU’s security guards. Very soon, students of AMU gathered on the spot but they were attacked by the Vahini members and some of the students got wounded.
Later when students marched protesting against the attack and seeking arrest of the culprits, police resorted to lathi-charge, leaving at least half a dozen students including AMUSU president wounded.
In a late night statement, the office of Vice Chancellor Prof. Tariq Mansoor “condemned the trespassing of University boundary and raising of objectionable and intimidating slogans by a group of Hindu Yuva Vahini”. While appealing to the students for peace, AMU VC demanded the district administration to arrest the culprits.
“The University expresses sympathies with the injured students and has asked the District Administration to nab the culprits and take strict action against the youths of Yuva Vahini for disturbing peace in the campus,” the VC office said. He also apprised the state and central authorities “about the situation on the campus and the sentiments of AMU community.”
The incident took place around the time when former Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari was staying at the guest house of the varsity. He was there to attend a program of the AMUSU. Some of the Hindu Vahini members had reached near the guest house and raised provocative slogans. Later the program was also cancelled.
It is said that the saffron activists wanted to lodge their protest over a portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah at the AMUSU office.
Aligarh BJP MP Satish Gautam had written to AMU VC seeking explanation about the display of Jinnah’s portrait at the varsity.
AMU spokesman Shafey Kidwai on Tuesday defended the portrait, apparently hanging there for decades, saying that Jinnah was a founder of the university and granted life membership of the student union.
Traditionally, photographs of all life members are placed on the walls of the student union, he told PTI news agency.