Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Profiling Kashmiris in AMU: Admin says routine in central universities, students upset

Aligarh Muslim University

A time-bound notice was issued by the Aligarh Muslim University administration seeking information on Jammu and Kashmiri students admitted with complete details for the 2022-2023 session.

The notice issued in the last week of December clearly mentioned that the information was to be provided to the Superintendent of Police, Aligarh. The immediate response from the administration staff was that the information is for providing “protection to students”, students told Maktoob.

The notice was withdrawn on 04 January after the notice drew backlash for profiling Kashmiri students. But the proctorial members say the exercise is routine and only drew a problem when it got leaked to the public.

AMU proctor Waseem Ali said, “They have sought data of students from Jammu & Kashmir; northeast and foreign countries. We provide information about such students, including their names, course, father’s name, and permanent and temporary addresses in the format provided by the agency. This is a government institution and the police are a part of the government. We are not providing information to outsiders. This is a routine exercise of maintaining data for security purposes and whenever the data is asked from us, we forward it to maintain transparency.”

Ex-students of AMU and members of the AMU Students Union told Maktoob professed they are totally unaware of such conventions.

“To our knowledge, there was no such routine exercise done where student’s information was forwarded to any other government institution,” Salman Imtiyaz, the outgoing president of AMUSU, told Maktoob.

“It was a routine thing. Every year we received this sort of notice,” Shafey Kidwai, a member of the proctorial team said.

“Someone leaked it to the press that the details are circulated and we thought that it should be withdrawn.”

Kidwai hinted at the possibility of doing it again once the heat around it settles.

The issue of Kashmiri students has been in the spotlight at AMU since a scuffle broke out between students inside one of the boys’ hostels in the last week of 2022.

“A goona (thug) can be seen chasing Kashmiri students while holding a gun,” Nasir Khuehami, National Convenor of J&K Students Association, wrote on Twitter, urging for intervention by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

But soon, many Kashmiri students dismissed the narrative of a hostile climate for Kashmiris in AMU. A letter was circulated on social media from “Students of J&K studying in AMU” disassociating themselves from any activities that took place in the aftermath of the scuffle and the people involved.

Kashmiri students, who want to remain anonymous, said that AMU has always been a home away from home for them.

Later a compromise was reached in MM Hall — a hostel where the scuffle began — between senior students and a statement of reconciliation was issued.


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