14 AMU students booked for 'sedition' after reports of Owaisi visit triggers protests

A TV channel crew had got into an altercation over reports of a visit by AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, police said.

Published: 13th February 2019 01:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th February 2019 09:12 PM   |  A+A-

Security personnel stand guard as Aligarh Muslim University students stage a protest over Jinnah portrait issue outside the university gate in Aligarh on Friday, 04 May 2018. | PTI

File photo of security personnel standing guard outside Aligarh Muslim University. (Photo: PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) hit the headlines, and for the wrong reason, yet again. With prevailing volatility in the wake of Tuesday’s violent clashes on the campus between students’ factions belonging to different communities, as many as 14 students were booked under charges of sedition following a complaint of alleged assault filed by a member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of BJP, on Wednesday.

Moreover, the university administration suspended eight students, including Ajay Singh, an LLM student at AMU and grandson of Aligarh BJP MLA Dalveer Singh, for indiscipline and misconduct.

“Their entry on the campus has been banned as the university administration believes that the Tuesday clashes were prompted by these students,” said AMU spokesperson on Wednesday.

On the other hand, the security was beefed up in and around AMU to avert further clashes.

The district administration suspended internet services in Aligarh for next 24 hours and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC were also imposed following the violent clashes between students of two communities on Campus over protests against the proposed visit of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Musalmeen (AIMIM) MP Asasudding Owaisi on the invitation of AMUSU.

All the roads leading to AMU near IG Khan crossing were also closed by the police administration to avert any untoward incident. Heavy deployment of police and para military forces were in place to maintain peace.

“The internet services have been suspended in the district following the orders of Aligarh DM CB Singh to check rumours, fake news and hateful, instigating messages and posts on various social media sites,” said a district administration official adding that services were likely to be restored by Thursday noon.

Meanwhile, 14 AMU students were booked on charges of sedition on Tuesday evening in connection with the alleged assault on TV journalists and BJP youth wing leaders. According to SSP Aligarh, Aakash Kulhari, two separate FIRs were filed against the students on the basis of complaints given by TV journalists and BJP youth wing leader.

As per the Aligarh police sources, those 14 students booked under sedition charges included the president Salman Imtiaz and vice-president Humza Sufiyan, Secretary Hufaiza Aamir, former president of AMUSU Mashkoor Ahmad, and a number of unidentified  students under sections 124-A (sedition), 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 392 (robbery), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 153-A and B (promoting enmity) of IPC.

In fact, the trouble started on Tuesday when a group of Hindu students, led by Ajay Singh and some BJP office bearers were allegedly assaulted by AMUSU students when they were protesting at Faiz gate seeking cancellation of the proposed visit of Owaisi. Five vehicles belonging to protestors were vandalised and one was set on fire by the students belonging to another community.

As per police sources, the violence broke out after Manish Kumar, a BTech (final Year) student was assaulted by one Mohammad Imran of Suleman hostel of AMU after Kumar came out in support of protestors.

The police sources said that even two-three round firing was also done by the students during trouble on campus. Getting the wind of Manish being assaulted, the protestors led by Ajay Singh, reached the proctor office seeking its intervention but they were allegedly thrown out by the internal security of AMU. They then started their dharna at the AMU circle outside the campus.

The SSP, however, claimed that the students were charged under sedition after a complaint of alleged assault was filed by BJP youth wing district president Mukesh Lodhi. He said, in his complaint, Lodhi had alleged that he was attacked by AMU students who raised slogans of “Pakistan Zindabad and Bharat Murdabad”.

After being booked under sedition charges, the AMUSU gave a ‘boycott class’ call on Wednesday. The sources confirmed that besides the clashes between student factions, a section of AMU students had altercations with the crew of a news channel who visited the campus to cover the proposed visit of Owaisi. However, the AIMIM leader did not turn up to attend the event orgainsed by the AMUSU.

As per the statement of an AMU spokesman, a TV channel team, which had come to cover the anticipated event featuring Owaisi, had an altercation with some students while they were filming inside the campus.

The channel crew, on the other hand, accused a group of students of smashing their camera on campus.

The spokesman said the channel had not sought permission from authorities for live coverage and when university staff pointed this out, there was a heated exchange in which some students were also involved.

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