14 AMU students charged with sedition for assaulting BJP youth wing members during Asaduddin Owaisi's visit

Fourteen students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) were charged with sedition on Wednesday after violent protests took place on the university campus following reports that AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi will visit the campus.

The students were charged with sedition after a complaint was filed by BJP youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) activist Mukesh Lodhi, accusing the students of assaulting him amid chants of pro-Pakistan slogans by a few students. Thereafter, security was beefed up in the area and Rapid Action Force was deployed around the campus, the police said.

File image of police deployment at the AMU campus. PTI

File image of police deployment at the AMU campus. PTI

However, protesting the police action, the students' union staged a "class boycott" and more protests followed, including one where a BJYM members' bike was set on fire, the police said. According to The Times of India's report, the students' union has said that the sedition charges were "frivolous and based on falsehood and fraud". According to Scroll, the students alleged that “some associates of RSS and BJP entered the campus with malafide intention”.

ABVP activists had staged a protest near one of the gates of the university after some media reports claimed that Owaisi was invited to address a function organised by the AMU Students' Union. They demanded that the AIMIM leader be not allowed to enter the campus. Owaisi, however, did not turn up.

In a separate incident on the same day, a few AMU students had an altercation with the crew of Republic TV channel which had come to film the visit. BJYM members held a separate demonstration against Owaisi's visit, demanding that the MP should be banned from the campus.

An AMU spokesperson told PTI that it was then that the channel crew, which had come to cover the event, had an altercation with a few students while they were filming inside the campus. The spokesman said the channel had not sought permission from authorities for live coverage and when the university staff pointed this out, there was a heated exchange in which some students were also involved.

Republic TV crew claimed they were roughed up by some students while they were filming on the campus and their camera was smashed. Complaints were lodged at the Civil Lines Police Station by both the AMU authorities and the crew. A complaint was also filed by BJYM members which alleged that they were beaten.

Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhari told PTI that a number of complaints were given by different groups at the Civil Lines police station and the police were in the process of filing the reports. Meanwhile, a large group of students gathered outside the university campus, demanding the suspension of Ajay Singh, a prominent ABVP leader who is a postgraduate student of the university.

Late on Wednesday night, cases under sections 124-A (sedition), section 307 (attempt to murder) and eight other sections of the IPC were registered against 14 students, including the president of students' union Salman Imtiaz and vice president Huzaifa Aamir on the complaint of Lodhi. He alleged that when he was driving across the AMU Circle, these students surrounded him and launched a "murderous assault" and raised pro-Pakistan slogans. According to The Indian Express, the university administration also filed two separate complaints with the police seeking lodging of FIRs against the journalists for entering the campus without permission and against unidentified miscreants for indulging in arson and unlawful activities. However, Aligarh's Circle Officer, Pankaj Kumar Srivastava said that no arrests have been made so far as investigation was on in the case, the report states.

According to the report, Aligarh district magistrate CM Singh said that it is an internal matter of the university. “We have asked the university officials to conduct an impartial inquiry and take action accordingly. Action will be taken against those found guilty of violating IPC sections,” he said.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 14, 2019 14:03:42 IST

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