NEW DELHI: Several international associations of alumni of Aligarh Muslim University have expressed deep concern on the recent attack by members of a Hindu-right group at their alma mater. They have sought intervention of President of India Ram Nath Kovind to restore peace at the campus by ensuring arrest of the culprits who tried to barge into the campus raising communal and provocative slogans earlier this week.
The AMU Alumni-UAE has submitted a memorandum to the President through the Indian consulate in the UAE and requested him “to take serious and justified action” against the perpetrators of 2nd May violence. President is Visitor of AMU and other central universities in the country.
Around two dozen members of saffron outfit Hindu Yuva Vahini, allegedly carrying weapons and saffron flags, had unsuccessfully tried to forcibly entre the Aligarh Muslim University campus through its main gate on 2nd May. They were angry over a portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah at the office of AMU Students’ Union. The intruders allegedly clashed with the varsity’s security guards and raised communal and provocative slogans.
As the news spread, hundreds of students of AMU came out from classes and hostels and rushed to the main gate and forced the saffron activists to retreat. The incident took place when former Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari was staying at the university’s guest house, just meters from the main gate. He was there to attend a program of AMUSU, which was later cancelled due to the tense situation. When hundreds of students marched towards the local police station seeking arrest of the Hindu Vahini members, police resorted to lathi-charge and brutally assaulted several students.
“We the alumni of Aligarh Muslim University in UAE are immensely concerned about the recent violence erupted on 2nd May 2018 in Aligarh Muslim University campus by some anti-social elements of an organization with intention to disrupt the program of our former Vice President Mr. Hamid Ansari in the Campus.
The alumni said that the incident was to damage national harmony and integration and hit the social fabric of the country.
“We humbly request you to take serious and justified action against those solely responsible for knitting and executing such conspiracies to our country’s reputed education institute…” the alumni body urged President Kovind.
They sent the memorandum also to Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, HRD Minister, Vice Chancellor of AMU and District Magistrate of Aligarh.
The AMU Alumni Association-Qatar has also sent a memorandum to President of India.
“such incidents are tarnishing the image of our country and projecting us as intolerant society. We are deeply concerned that the image of our country is spoiled. We are also concerned for the safety and security of the students studying at AMU campus.”
The association urged the President to take steps for “restoration of peace and normalcy at AMU campus and security of students and faculty, strong action against the criminals who invaded the AMU campus and disturbed the peaceful atmosphere.”
It also demanded a judicial probe into “the conspiracies behind the organized attempt to incite violence inside AMU campus.”
Besides in UAE and Qatar, several associations of AMU alumni in other countries including Australia and Saudi Arabia have passed resolution expressing deep concern on the incident.
Portrait of Jinnah at AMU
Two days before the attack, BJP MP from Aligarh had written to AMU Vice Chancellor seeking explanation about a portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah at the office of AMU Students’ Union.
The AMU responded that the portrait was there since 1938 when Jinnah was awarded life membership of AMUSU and his portrait has been there along with that of several other prominent figures of the history of Indian freedom movement, including Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. BR Ambedkar.
Meanwhile, Prof. Ali Amir, former AMUSU president, further has explained that the portrait of Jinnah there is protected by law and can be removed only through amendment in the AMU Act 1981.
“Portrait of Jinnah put up on the walls of AMU Students’ Union Hall is protected by AMU Act (1981) under section 4 (v)…AMU Students’ Union is an autonomous statutory body recognised under AMU Act (1981). This act grants historical character to AMU. Everything related to Students’ Union Hall is a historical monument including the portrait of Jinnah under protection of Parliamentary Act. It can never be removed by any executive order until an amendment in AMU Act (1981) is done specifically for this purpose,” said Prof. Amir who headed AMUSU from 1982-83.