By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: The UP authorities have stopped the AMU students union leaders from attending the press conference here organised by student and youth organizations and students unions of the various universities on Friday. The student leaders came forward in solidarity with the Aligarh Muslim University and called for the ‘revocation’ of sedition cases arbitrarily slapped against 14 students of the University.
while addressing a joint press conference at the Press Club of India, they condemned in the strongest terms the Police action against the AMU students saying the UP police increasingly and brazenly behaving in ‘partisan’ manner instead holding and respecting the rule of law.
The joint press conference was called by Aligarh Muslim University Students Union, Students Islamic organisation of India and students of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia.
However, AMUSU office bearers were not allowed to attend press conference atNew Delhi. Hamza Sufyan, Vice President AMUSU and Ferdous Ahmed, cabinet member, on their way to address the press conference in Delhi were stopped near Tappal and forcibly sent back. Besides this, former AMUSU president Mashkoor Usmani was also detained separately at Lodha for close to an hour.
“We condemn this action of the UP government and demand that the false case of sedition against 14 AMU students should immediately be revoked. We also demand that strict action against the ABVP and BJP youth wing activists who had created a riots like situation in the campus.”
They underlined the fact that the law of sedition – a draconian law in itself – can only be invoked in cases where the sovereignty and integrity of the Union of India is threatened by violent acts. It is unclear how the law of sedition was applied to a scuffle that happened with a University campus, and that too applied not against the culprits but against the victims, they asked and added that it must be noted that among the 14 students against whom sedition case was filed, some were not even present in Aligarh during the incidence.
The careless and casual manner in which sedition charges were slapped on AMU students by the UP police shows its ‘communal bias’ and playing into the hands of communal forces.
“The attitude of UP police, and make us believe that it was involved only to create a controversy and malign the image of the university”.
“This is not the first time that an unnecessary controversy is being created around Aligarh Muslim University to polarize the society along communal lines. It is highly unfortunate to see the UP Government playing with the lives of innocent students just to further its agenda of hatred and division,” students leaders reminded.
“We firmly stand in solidarity with AMU in this challenging time and reject the fascist forces and their allied media’s repeated attempts to malign the university’s name and use it for communal polarization.” ‘
They also slammed a section of media for its biased coverage of the happenings.
It is also disheartening to see the role played by a national media outlets in these events, which called AMU a University of terrorists and once again tried to provoke an unnecessary controversy around AMU.
“We believe that such provocative and polarising coverage should be held to account and some semblance of journalistic responsibility and media ethics should be restored.”
Syed Azharuddin (General Secretary, SIO of India), Meeran Haidar (JMI), Nazeel (DU), and Aasif Idrees, JNUSU Councillor addressed the conference