AMU clash wasn’t between ‘patriots’ and students, Vice-President Hamid Ansari was the target

It is outrageous that police stood idle when an armed mob got menacingly close to the guest house where former Vice-President Hamid Ansari was staying.

Was the violent demonstration by a Hindu mob at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) only an expression of patriotism by people angry about the presence of M.A. Jinnah’s portrait on the campus?

Is it only a coincidence that members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini chose to launch the assault on a day former vice-president Hamid Ansari was in the university to receive lifetime membership of the AMU student union?

What is being portrayed as a clash between a “mob of patriots” and AMU’s “angry students” should be seen as an attempt to attack the former Vice-President.

The demonstrators were allowed by police to reach AMU’s Bab-e-Syed, which is very close to the guest house where Ansari was staying. Arms were openly brandished and abusive slogans raised by the mob, which was being allowed to move towards the guest house.

When AMU students saw that the mob was not being stopped effectively by police, they decided to resist them. Six members of the mob were overpowered and handed over to police. However, instead of booking them, police let them off.

When the students decided to go to the police station to demand an FIR against the six, police lathi-charged the students and used tear gas.

Now, the media is presenting it as a clash between “patriots” and AMU students, and the subsequent episode as a “clash” between students and police.

It is outrageous that police stood idle when an armed mob got menacingly close to a guest house where a former VP was staying. The media distracts itself by a portrait while not questioning the deliberate negligence of police.

A teacher friend from AMU told me that the BJP MP who raised the portrait issue first gave the vice-chancellor a 48-hour notice to get it removed.

Then why did he and his followers not wait for the notice period to get over before launching the assault? The only explanation available is that it was, in fact, Ansari who was the target of the attack.

The animosity of the BJP and RSS affiliates towards Ansari is a known fact. They have mocked him, and abused him. The Prime Minister even used the occasion of his farewell to target him with barbs.

Abhishek Srivastava of Media Vigil takes us 10 years back to help us understand the seriousness of the attack on Ansari. In a similar, but more violent and effective, attack, a mob had vandalised the studio of Headlines Today at Delhi’s Videocon Tower on 17 July 2010. None other than Ram Madhav, now the BJP general secretary, owned the action even as he apologised for the “minor damage” caused to the studio. Why was the channel attacked? Because it had run a tape that exposed a conspiracy to physically target Ansari, then the Vice-President.

It is interesting that there was no follow-up of this sensational exposé. Headlines Today did not withdraw or disown the report, which is still available on the India Today website.

The chargesheet is in the record of the courts dealing with the Malegaon blast case. But everything has been conveniently forgotten. It is this amnesia that prevents us from connecting the dots.

The armed demonstration near the AMU guest house will be dismissed and justified as an expression of nationalist emotions; its criminality forgotten.

Apoorvanand teaches Hindi at Delhi University.

Courtesy: The Print