SRINAGAR: For nearly a century, the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has been the first choice for higher education for students from Kashmir. The varsity has given Kashmir many of its political leaders, teachers, professionals and a number of scientists too.
Right now, more than 1300 students are enrolled with the AMU.
Off late, however, AMU’s Kashmir students are seen on newspaper front pages, for all the wrong reasons. This is a key concern in Kashmir that the environment in one of the best universities is gradually becoming unfriendly for the students from Kashmir. Generations of Kashmir still consider AMU, their second home. There has not been a year since the “aligarhians” have not had a get together on the birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the AMU-lot is one of the close-knit groups in Kashmir’s educated lot.
The Latest Instance
Reports appearing in the media suggest that a PhD scholar, Jibran objected to the noisy badminton game of some students on the premises of MM Hall on December 25 night. It was around 11 pm. He wanted them to stop the noise, move to their rooms and permit the inmates to study and sleep.
When he repeated the request, he alleged the students attacked him and later attempted to barge into his room. He told reporters that he was abused and thrashed. This made him insecure and the word spread. The youth playing badminton in the Hall premises were reportedly juniors from different streams. The scholar and his Hall inmates said they were called terrorists and threatened that they will be shot dead.
The students communicated the issue to the university administration and they allegedly avoided acting on the complaint.
On December 26, around 150 students from Kashmir staged a protest. They closed the University’s Centenary Gate so that their protest is noticed and they will be heard. Instead of giving them a patient hearing, students alleged that the university proctor arrived on the spot and ordered university guards to disperse the protesting students. Students claimed they were cane-charged and manhandled by the guards. However, another student said that the same group of students – who were behind the tension – appeared and attacked them in presence of the proctor.
Interestingly, some of the videos from this attack within the university have gone viral. In one video clip, a young man – not a Kashmiri – is holding a pistol, apparently a country-made Katha, quite popular with the local gangsters.
Later, the UP Police reached the spot and communicated with the students. They were assured that their meeting with the District Magistrate Aligarh will be facilitated. A police report that appeared in a section of the media suggested the assaulting group was from Gazipur.
Later, a group of five Kashmiri students did meet Additional DC, Aligarh, Minu Rana who heard them patiently. She later told reporters that the Kashmiri students are feeling insecure and the government will find a solution for the insecurity, She, however, said thee was not any formal complaint.
Not A First
Students said that it has become a new norm in the university that on slight provocations, the Kashmiri students are being attacked. In certain cases, their rooms are also being attacked and ransacked.
There have been a series of attacks, usually the outcome of minor arguments that are routine in the student spaces. In the last three months, reports said as many as seven Jammu and Kashmir students were assaulted, resulting in certain cases, grievous injuries. One of them is still suffering from head trauma.
Issue of Impunity
Kashmiri students told the UP police, university administration and the media that the frequent assaults on them are the outcome of a lack of action from the university officials. They are seeking an enquiry into the treatment meted out to Kashmiri students in the university.
The students have given a detailed memorandum to the administration flagging their issues and insecurities.