Sedition Charges on AMU Students Over Brawl with Republic TV

India’s two premier minority institutions Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia Milia Islamia(JMI) are at the centre of a storm as students resist interference by Republic TV and demand the resignation of an HOD on charges of secular harassment and favoritism respectively.

India’s two premier minority institutions Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia Milia Islamia(JMI) are at the centre of a storm as students resist interference by Republic TV and demand the resignation of an HOD on charges of secular harassment and favoritism respectively.

The New Leam Staff

Aligarh Muslim University. (Yasbant Negi/The India Today Group/Getty Images)

The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has once again become a site of controversy as the students on the campus have recently gone into trouble for having a tense moment with reporters from Republic TV. The students at the university had an altercation with the reporters and camerapersons from Republic TV because the students alleged that they had entered the campus without taking permission. The students also alleged that the team of Republic TV was also passing objectionable and lewd comments on the university and the students.

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Following the incident, the administration had filed two separate complaints against the reporters for entering the university without prior permission and against unidentified miscreants for indulging in arson and unlawful action. The reports allegedly commented about AMU that it was a university of the terrorists.

The Republic TV reporters have alleged that the students at the university misbehaved with them and the equipment of the crew was also destroyed. Fourteen students from the university have now been booked for a range of charges such as sedition.  The FIR against the students was filed based on the complaints that were made by the Bhartiya Yuva Janata Morcha leader. The students of AMU on the other hand asserted that the team from Republic TV had entered the campus without permission and that they were trying to instigate the students in order to get a reaction for the camera.

The FIR against the students has been registered based on the complaints filed by a prominent leader of BYJM who alleged that the students surrounded his vehicle and fired at him. The FIR also tells that the AMU students were shouting anti-national slogans. The students’ union of AMU has however, maintained that the charges are fabricated.

The university has been asked to carry out an impartial enquiry and take action against the offenders. This is also the time of immense turmoil at another university located in the capital of the nation.  

Jamia Milia Islamia is undergoing immense political and internal churning as it has entered the 13th day of protest as the students are demanding the resignation of HOD Applied Arts Hafeez Ahmad. The students allege that the HOD has been passing very lewd comments on the students and discriminating against them. Instead of looking at the problem internally, the administration deployed a large number of police personnel on the campus. Consequently, Section 144 has been imposed which has allowed which does not allow the assembly of more than five people. The students have been continuing the protest despite the constraining climate of the campus. It all started on January 31st ,2019 when a group of students came out to protest the lack of adequate faculty members in the department of applied arts and the HOD said that he would have them rusticated if they did not withdraw their protest but the students continued their protests in spite of it.  

To stand in support of the protest in Jamia, JNU student leader Umar Kahlid visited them and participated in the agitation. The students have currently gheraoed the VC office amid tight security. We see that both these minority institutions are burning in turmoil as their respective administrations have not been able to tackle the matter diligently.  These campuses cater to a wide number of students from the minority community and the fact that they are being constantly targeted and their students are constantly tagged as terrorists, is a matter of shared concern. The unfair invasion of the AMU campus by the reporters of Republic TV and the denial of freedom to students at the JMI campuses could have been tackled in a far nuanced way by the respective administrations.

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