Monday, December 11, 2023

Police book AMU students for organising Palestine solidarity march

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Screengrab from the video of the March.

Four students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) were booked by the Aligarh Police on Monday for carrying out a march expressing solidarity with the Palestinians’ resistance movement against Israeli occupation and human rights violations in Palestine on Sunday evening.

A case has been registered against the four students and others under sections 153A (promoting communal enmity), 188 (disobedience to the order duly promulgated by a public servant), 505 (Intent to incite community or group to commit offence) of Indian penal code.

More than 250 students gathered at Duck Point and marched toward Bab-e-Syed raising slogans demanding the ‘liberation of Palestine from the Israeli occupation’ and ‘condemning the human violation of Palestinians’.

The students booked however refuted the allegations levelled by the district administration against them.

Atif Ahmad, a final year student of Business Administration is the one among four students booked, who also led the protest.

Ahmad told Maktoob, “If it is only about raising provocative slogans, why only 4 students would raise those slogans, all will raise the same slogans but on what basis four students were handpicked?”

He said, “We only raised four slogans, ‘Free-free Palestine’, ‘Hindustan Zindabad’, ‘Tera-mera rishta Kya? La ilaha illal la” and ‘Nara-e-Takbeer Allahu Akbar’, this in no way is a punishable offence or a provocative slogan. I don’t know their understanding of ‘provocative slogans’.

He also added that these slogans are not inciting any communal enmity as mentioned in the FIR. 

Ahmad said, “If raising the voice against Human rights violations of Palestinians or any human is a punishable offence under Indian law, they can book us. We rise and will rise against everything which is wrong and against Humanity.”

AMU students on the campus have been on a sit-in protest for the last 12 days demanding the students’ union elections and appointment of the Vice Chancellor. 

Ahmad accused the varsity’s administration of working hand in hand with the district administration, “Protests on the campus might be the reason that irked the varsity’s administration to instigate Aligarh police against us as I am one of the students leading the protest for the demand of Union on the campus.”

Professor Wasim Ali, the proctor of AMU said that they are in contact with the district administration and the university would help them carry out a fair investigation.

“Aligarh Police has approached us with the case and asked us to provide the CCTV footage of the campus. We will cooperate with them in gathering all the required evidence to carry out the investigation. I am yet to see the videos and footage, we are assessing the issue”, said Ali.

The proctor also informed Maktoob that all four students are the bonafide, enrolled students of the university.

“The students didn’t take permission for the march, but as soon as we got the information our team reached the Bab-e-Syed, but the team didn’t witness the march from Duck Point or the slogans raised,” he added.

Meanwhile, the student on Tuesday has given a memorandum to the varsity’s administration. They demanded to expunge the FIR against the administration, the appointment of the chief election officer to conduct students’ union elections, and the release of the date for elections at the earliest.

Moreover, Mrigank Shekhar Pathak, Superintendent of Aligarh City Police told Maktoob, “Students at AMU carried out the march on the Israel-Palestine issue without the administration’s permission, hence they are booked.”

When pressed if ‘obtaining permission’ is the matter between the varsity and the student, the officer said, “We received the information that provocative and objectionable slogans were raised during the protest and the action is taken accordingly.”

The FIR filed by the Aligarh police mentioned that the action was taken based on the videos available on social media and the information received by the outpost in charge, Azhar Hasan appointed at Bab-e-Syed in the law and order duty.

When asked about the nature and the wording of the slogans raised, the SP city said, “We are yet to see the videos of the march if any provocative slogans were raised. The FIR is filed and students are booked based on the information we have received.”

He said, “The march was related to the ongoing Israel-Palestine issue, now it is the matter of the investigation if any offence was committed or not by the students and further action will be taken, the investigation is initiated.”

The First Investigation Report filed by the Aligarh police at Civil Lines Police station stated, “Aforementioned students of Aligarh Muslim University carried out a march following the ‘terrorist attack’ in Israel in support of Palestine and raised provocative slogans and it can have adverse on the society and hence these students should be booked under 153a, 188 and 505 of IPC, as it is a punishable offence.”

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