LUCKNOW: Aligarh Muslim University was on the boil following the controversy kicked up over the portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s decorating the walls of university’s student union hall as a group of right-wing activists and AMU students came to blows on Wednesday.
Later, over half a dozen students sustained injuries during a protest as police resorted to lathicharge and lobbed tear gas shells to control the situation.
Tension gripped the campus early on Wednesday when a group of right-wing activists with the saffron scarf around their neck thronged the AMU main gate –Bab-e- Sayyad shouting anti-Jinnah and pro-India slogans.
The right-wing activists were demanding the removal of Jinnah's photo, to which the AMU students objected.
As per the campus sources, the slogan shouting mob, allegedly equipped with pistols and revolvers, first burnt an effigy of Jinnah on the gate followed by a bid to force entry on campus.
They were, however, stopped by the AMU security. On getting the information about the build-up on the gates, AMU student leaders rushed to the site with sticks and a clash was reported between the two sides.
Following the clash, the police, which had reached the campus by then, resorted to cane charge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
In the melee, the AMU students caught hold of six activists and handed them over to the cops.
Notably, at the time of trouble and tension, former Vice-President of India, Hamid Ansari was present on the campus as the AMUSU had planned to confer its life membership on the dignitary.
“It was a deliberate attempt by the right-wing activists to harm Ansari on the pretext of Jinnah issue,” said a student leader.
Hamid Ansari has been a professor as well as the vice chancellor of the university.
The district administration along with senior police personnel including SSP Ajay Kumar Sahani rushed to the spot to monitor the situation and heavy contingent of a police force and columns of Rapid Action Force (RAF) were deployed on campus to avert any untoward incident.
However, later in the day, the AMUSU members and hundreds of AMU students, led by Union president Maskoor Ahmad Usmani, took to streets to protest against the ruckus created by alleged right-wing activists on campus gate.
They marched towards Civil Lines police station to get an FIR registered against the alleged troublemakers who were detained there but the police and RAF men stopped them using force, said the sources.
Consequently, around half a dozen AMU students got injured along with the union president. All the injured were admitted to the district hospital for immediate medical attention.
“Now the situation is under total control and peaceful,” said Aligarh DM Chandra Bhushan Singh. However, hundreds of AMU students are believed to be sitting at the main gate of the university demanding action against members of right-wing organisations.
On Monday, Satish Gautam, the BJP MP from Aligarh, had written a letter to AMU vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor, asking why Jinnah’s portrait was decorating the walls of AMUSU hall. The AMU authorities and the student union president had justified it by claiming that Jinnah was granted life membership of the student union.
Meanwhile, there were reports suggesting that Jinnah’s portrait on campus was taken down but while publicity in-charge Prof Shafey Kidwai expressed his ignorance, AMUSU leaders denied the reports.