DM blames Aligarh students

Aligarh's district magistrate has blamed Aligarh Muslim University students for Wednesday's violence over Muhammad Ali Jinnah's portrait and suspended Internet services in the district for 34 hours, from 2pm on Friday to Saturday midnight.

By Our BUREAU
  • Published 5.05.18
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Lucknow/New Delhi: Aligarh's district magistrate has blamed Aligarh Muslim University students for Wednesday's violence over Muhammad Ali Jinnah's portrait and suspended Internet services in the district for 34 hours, from 2pm on Friday to Saturday midnight.

Chandra Bhushan Singh's order curbing Internet access cites the need "to maintain peace and social harmony" in the face of "antisocial elements spreading rumours" and creating "tension", although no incidents have been reported in the past two days.

On Wednesday, six people were injured in a police baton charge when the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a militia founded by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, stormed AMU to try and remove Jinnah's portrait from the students' union office but faced resistance.

Singh's order, issued in Hindi, appears to largely blame the students for the violence and "communal tension".

"The students became aggressive and a large number of them marched towards the city on May 2 after some Hinduvadi (sic) organisations arrived at the university to burn a so-called effigy of Jinnah while demanding removal of his portrait," the order says.

"Some force was used to check the unruly students. The common people faced problems and this led to communal tension."

Although the students had threatened the march, they never actually carried it out. The police had exerted the "force" that Singh has referred to just inside the campus, near the gates, where the students and the Vahini had clashed.

Police officers have said the cops caned both sides, adding that three from each side were in hospital. Singh's version appears to lend credence to allegations that the police mainly beat up the students.

AMU students continued their demonstration at the varsity gates on Friday, demanding action against the attackers.

On Friday, students and activists protested in several cities - such as Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Warangal - against Wednesday's violence at AMU. A demonstration was held outside Uttar Pradesh Bhavan in Delhi.

"This offensive against AMU is linked to the economic policies made to deprive poorer students access to education. A communal ideology is being used as a diversion," retired Delhi University professor Tripta Wahi told The Telegraph.

The CPM student arm, SFI, urged students across the country "to resist the violence unleashed by the Right-wing forces in various educational institutions".

JNU student Amir Malik of the Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Students Organisation said: "This is just another excuse for the RSS to shift the focus from issues like (the mysterious death of) judge (B.H.) Loya and the rapes in Kathua and Unnao."

Protests were witnessed at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, where student leader Fahad Ahmed said: "We call for Dalits, Adivasis and the Other Backward Classes to support AMU students to prevent communal polarisation."