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regular-article-logo Friday, 31 May 2024

Disquiet at AMU after Holi row: Faculty member says clash was premeditated ahead of polls

It looks like a dispute over Holi but many of us believe it is an election-time quarrel to send a message across the state and polarise the majority voters, said a teacher of the university

Piyush Srivastava Lucknow Published 24.03.24, 06:45 AM
Aligarh Muslim University.

Aligarh Muslim University. File picture

Tension has gripped Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) following a row between two groups of students over the celebration of Holi on the campus even as sources said it had more to do with the politics of polarisation ahead of the
Lok Sabha elections.

A section of students had on Thursday submitted an application to the university authorities to allow them to play Holi on March 25 on the ground of Zakir Husain College of Engineering and Technology. Another group of students reached the proctor’s office, chanted slogans against the applicants and threatened to launch a protest if such a demand was approved.

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The applicants, who were Hindus, alleged that the Muslim students attacked and injured many of them during a clash on Thursday evening. Police registered a case against 10 students on Friday. Later, some students and BJP workers reached the Civil Lines police station and organised a dharna to mount pressure on the cops to arrest the attackers.

Aditya Pratap Singh, one of the students who had sought permission to celebrate Holi, said: “Holi is played at several places on the campus every year but we were seeking permission to play it at one place in front of the engineering college. Unfortunately, the proctor said Holi would be played like the previous years and no new place could be earmarked. Later, some Muslim students attacked us.”

The Muslim students boycotted classes after the Friday prayer to protest against what they said was a “one-sided action” by the authorities. “We will not attend any class till the university administration makes it clear that it will not allow any gathering on the engineering college ground on March 25,” Irfan Ali, a student, said on Saturday.

A member of the AMU told this newspaper that the clash between the two groups was premeditated. “It looks like a dispute over Holi but many of us believe it is an election-time quarrel to send a message across the state and polarise the majority voters,” said a teacher of the university who didn’t want to be identified.

“The students were supposed to discuss the matter with the proctor but they attacked each other. Neither of the two groups is authorised to take any decision about any event on the campus. It seems that both groups were politically motivated as all those who fought with each other would campaign for one or the other Lok Sabha candidate. They have done so in the past as well,” he added.

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