AMU students face sedition cases after tiff with TV news channel

Aligarh Muslim University | PTI Aligarh Muslim University | PTI

Less than a year after demands to remove a portrait of Mohammed Ali Jinnah triggered violent protests on the campus of Aligarh Muslim University, the institution is again in the eye of a storm.

On Tuesday, a group of AMU students got into an altercation with the crew of a TV news channel over reports of a visit by AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi. Cases under Section 124-A (sedition), Section 307 (attempt to murder) and eight other sections of the IPC were registered against nine students of the AMU, including the president and vice president of the students union as both sides filed complaints against each other. Personnel of the Rapid Action Force have been deployed around the AMU campus.

ABVP members claimed a motorcycle of one of their members was set ablaze after the altercation.

The tiff between the TV channel and AMU students was triggered by a protest launched by the ABVP over the visit of Owaisi, whom they wanted banned. While Owaisi did not turn up, the crew of the TV channel went to cover the anticipated event. An AMU spokesperson said the TV channel did not obtain permission to film inside the university campus.

The TV channel crew claimed they were heckled and their camera smashed. Some ABVP activists also claimed they were assaulted by the AMU students, who they alleged shouted pro-Pakistan slogans.

A large group of AMU students gathered at the Bab-e-Syed gate, demanding the suspension of Ajay Singh, a prominent ABVP leader who is a postgraduate student in the Faculty of Law. He is the grandson of BJP MLA Dalvir Singh.

A week ago, the youth wing of the BJP, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, wrote to the vice-chancellor of AMU demanding the construction of a temple in the AMU premises. BJYM district president Mukesh Singh Lodhi set a 'deadline' of 15 days for AMU to respond to its demands. Lodhi said if AMU did not respond, the BJYM would unilaterally commence murti sthapana (installation of idols) with thousands of workers on the AMU campus on February 24.

In May 2018, more than 20 AMU students were injured after they protested against demands by some BJP leaders to remove a portrait of Jinnah, regarded as the founder of Pakistan, from the university campus.