Days after three Kashmiri students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) were suspended for allegedly trying to hold a prayer meeting for Hizbul Mujahideen commander Manan Bashir Wani, other students from the northern state have threatened to leave the campus on October 17 if the sedition charges are not dropped against the trio.
"If this vilification does not stop, more than 1,200 Kashmiri students will leave for their homes in the Kashmir Valley on October 17 as a last option," AMU students’ union former vice-president Sajjad Rathar said in a letter to the vice-chancellor.
Rather also termed the sedition charges as "vendetta”.
"The option of holding Namaaz-e-Janaza (prayer meeting) in absentia was dropped after the AMU authorities did not give the permission…If no prayer meeting was held as confirmed by all official agencies, the slapping a case of sedition against three Kashmiri students is simply a vendetta, harassment and denial of justice," he said.
AMU spokesman Shafay Kidwai, however, denied the Kashmiri students' charges of harassment and stressed that "no innocent would be framed".
Prof Kidwai also made it clear that "there is zero tolerance for any anti-national activity on AMU campus".
Three Kashmiri students of AMU were booked on sedition charges for allegedly for raising "anti-India" slogans and trying to hold a prayer meeting for Hizbul Mujahideen commander Manan Bashir Wani on October 12.
The Human Resource Development Ministry on Friday asked the AMU for a report after the Kashmiri students were suspended.
Kidwai said university staff and the students’ union had rushed to Kennedy Hall in the campus after they came to know that some Kashmiri students of the varsity had gathered there on Thursday to hold funeral prayers for Wani. Soon, the AMU Students’ Union (AMUSU) leaders and the Kashmiri students got into an argument over the issue. Finally, the Kashmiri students moved out of the area.
AMUSU president Faizul Hasan said he had always championed the cause of freedom of speech but any act of treason or terror was unacceptable to the union. The AMUSU will not allow the university to be defamed by any person who indulges in such unlawful activity, said Hasan.
Satish Gautam, BJP lawmaker from Aligarh, said the students who tried to hold the meeting should be expelled from the AMU.
Who was Manan Bashir Wani?
# The 27-year-old Wani had joined the militant ranks in January this year after quitting PhD in Allied Geology at Aligarh Muslim University.
#Wani was a brilliant student from the beginning and after his initial education, he went to prestigious Sainik School at Manasbal for completing his Class 11 and 12.
# Wani was attached to his family a lot especially with his father, Bashir Ahmed Wani, who was a lecturer in college. From a well-to-do family, Wani remained busy with his studies at AMU from 2011 where he completed his M.Phil and followed by Ph.D in allied geology.
# During his days in school, Wani participated actively in sports like kabbadi across north India.
# As a National Cadet Corps, he participated in Republic Day and Independence Day parades.
# Wani's journey to militancy began sometime in late 2017 when he came in contact with students from South Kashmir.
# He left Aligarh on January 3 this year to join the militant ranks, only to return home dead.
(With PTI inputs)