Consider this as a ‘dead letter’ addressed to the Members of AMU Court, the Supreme governing body of the University, whose conscience is so hardened that even an earthquake of grade 9 on a violence Richter scale on December 15, 2019 could not shake it. The state sponsored violence was so gruesome that the Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Govind Mathur called it a ‘war-like situation’ on the campus.
Despite the horrific scenes reported by the national and international media, the blood stained streets of AMU, the chopped hands of students, the burnt rooms of hostels, the injured in the hospitals and the forcibly evicted students failed to awaken the souls of its protectors, the so called AMU Court. I, myself tried to awaken the dead spirits, but I couldn’t emerge as a Jesus for them. My earlier two letters have fallen on the deaf ears, and even a courtesy could not find a space in the air. This time too, I am sure my words will be lost in the Bermuda Triangle of AMU, where political associations and compulsions matter more than students’ concern.
Read this in the context of the meeting of the AMU Court scheduled to be held tomorrow, which has been called despite pandemic, when even parliament has been stalled. You may think that AMU values its Court Meetings, and doesn’t want to miss one. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The meeting is being held off its schedule. It wasn’t conducted when elected students made to the AMU Court because modern day AMU hates its students the most. It doesn’t want to offer a platform to its students to express their grievances. It even condemned the institution of AMU Students’ Union and made sure that students are not allowed to elect their representatives.
Not only that, tomorrow when the meeting is scheduled to be held, 120 seats out of 198, will stay vacant. They have not been filled so that no sane voices come and speak. This may be shocking to know but it is the truth that it actually is not a meeting of AMU Court Members, but a get together of AMU teachers who haven’t seen each other due to Covid breakdown, because the overwhelming majority of the members attending the AMU Court tomorrow are the AMU teachers, non else, a student – not at all.
Under these circumstances, if my words reach the people meeting in the name of AMU Court tomorrow, may I remind them of the few lines of the powerful poem, “Syed Ki Lauh-e-Turbat (Gravestone of Syed) written by Alama Iqbal.
O you whose life is confined in the material world
O you whose soul is imprisoned in the cage
Listen to my advice if you are any statesman
Courage is your support if you are a leader of men
Hesitation in expressing your purpose does not behoove you
If your intentions are good you should not fear anything
The Mu’min’s heart is clear of fear and hypocrisy
The Mu’min’s heart is fearless against the ruler’s power
With the miracle of your verse awaken those sleeping
Burn down falsehood’s produce with the flame of your call.
Respected Members of the AMU Court
When you shall be meeting tomorrow, remember your Chairman for the Day was the person who gave permission to UP police/RAF, a police force with worst record of human rights violations and anti-Muslim bias, to invade the campus ON December 15. You must know this as a matter of record that, RAF accepted that they fired 13 stun shells, 1 single way grenade, 58 chilli shell besides using 12 BC carts, 12 plastic pallet, 5 PAG CARTS, 101 Vajra (MBC), 6 rubber bullets, 75 L/R (electric), 85 L/R (non electric) and other weapons. UP Police also used disproportionate force. Police entered the hostel rooms and treated students like criminals. Students were abused and called anti-nationals, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. A Kashmiri student was tied to a tree after he revealed his native place and beaten to pulp. Police remained in the campus for night and illegally detained over 30 students. Over 100 students were injured, ambulances were broken, doctors were beaten and AMU employees were hit. A senior police officer in the civil dress was also beaten by RAF men. This was the intensity of rampage. Two students had massive damage in dominant hands, one suffered brain haemorrhage and others suffered injuries in different parts of the body. It was all around terror in the campus. Hundreds of students were forced to stay on the roof tops of SS Hall till the next morning as police was raiding rooms and searching for students.
AMU – VC and Registrar did not come out of their palaces and kept contact with police instead of students. None of them visited the halls of residence or met the students. None of them visited the injured in the hospital. AMU proctor denied SOS calls from students. AMU administration pre-poned vacations and forced students to leave the campus within 24 hours. It was an emergency order without declaration of sine die, a Machiavellian way to enforce curfew. Students faced massive inconvenience and AMU administration offered a brutal face against students.
The criminal details may go on, but the irony lies somewhere else. Despite being victims of the state terror, more than 5000 students have been named in FIRs charged with multiple section of violation of law including the section 307. When the matter was taken by students to the Court of Law and a detailed report of M Salman Imtiaz, outgoing President of AMU Students on the state terrorism in AMU campus was submitted by the lawyers besides other details, the jury ordered NRHC to probe the matter. After the probe, the Allahabad high court directed the UP DGP to identify and take action against the policemen who were involved in damaging motorcycles and unnecessarily caning the apprehended students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests. The court also directed the state government to adequately compensate six students who had sustained grievous injuries in police action. No action against police has been taken yet.
Just after imposing violence on the campus and under the fear of demand for accountability, quasi militarized AMU campus under the boots of Registrar Abdul Hamid, and his highness, Prof. Tariq Mansoor, Vice Chancellor of AMU, was locked and students were forced to leave like refuges. But when the students returned, they boycotted all exams and class work to press the demand for resignation of AMU VC and Registrar who had lost the confidence of students. But in a tricky way, whole teachers’ machinery was activated and threats were issued to students to join the exams and class work. The VC himself threatened of imposing sine die. Ultimately, students agreed to join the classes after AMU VC signed on more than 10 letters from students of various faculties, promising revocation of charges, safety of students and action against the guilty.
Oh, Members of the AMU Court, when you shall be sipping the tea during the meeting, the betrayal by AMU administration has landed, Farhan Zuberi, 22, in jail under 11 charges for violent clashes on 15 December during anti-CAA protests. You may enjoy the tea, but we are weeping in blood, as one of our students is rotting in the jail. When all of you were silent, it was our alumnus, Br Aamir Mintoo and Dr. Kafeel Khan who stood by the students’ voices. Both of them are jailed.
On this day, we want you to awaken you souls and question the brutal nexus of AMU administration and Police in 15 Dec. Case. You must ask the VC to explain why he betrayed students despite having signed over more than 10 papers. You must gather courage to pass a resolution against AMU VC and Registrar for opening the doors of AMU Campus to police for vandalism. You must ask why they did not condemn the statement of UP CM Adityanth who on the floor of the house falsely accused AMU students of planning to burn the Aligarh City. If you stay there for Chai pe Charcha, and watching each others’ faces on video screens, students will see it as a great betrayal. You must pass an unequivocal resolution condemning the Indian state for brutalizing students on the 15th night, demand action against violent cops and accountably of AMU administration. If you can’t do that, the history will never forgive you. The students won’t ever.
On the academic note, AMU administration has miserably failed to hold interviews of students despite having appeared in PhD entrance exams in Oct 2019. Students protested multiple of times, but AMU is like modern day Indian state, which pays no heed to protests. Career of hundreds of students is at stake due to negligence of AMU administration. Don’t trust them; if they use Covid 19 as an excuse, it is story long before the pandemic. The recent story of Bengali students to generate funds for their own travel must not be forgotten. The closure of dining halls despite students residing in the campus while national lockdown is under way must not be ignored.
There is a sea of miseries, but there is no one to hear. AMU Students will fight back to bring cruel administration to justice, but will you do your part, remains to be seen. Watching how AMU Court has behaved in the recent past, Irony dies a thousand deaths.