AMU students continue hunger strike

Aligarh, November 01: A day after the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was temporarily closed following prolonged student unrest over a murder, some students on a hunger strike Saturday refused to withdraw their agitation till the vice chancellor is removed.

Meanwhile, the administration Saturday claimed that students were leaving the campus for their home towns.

But there was simmering discontent among a section of students, many of whom said the closure was “a clear sign of helplessness and lack of will to arrest the rot in the academia”.

The university was closed Friday evening when a group of students on hunger strike and the university management failed to reach an understanding.

Violent protests by AMU students started Monday — a day after Shahnawaz Alam, a B.Sc final year student of the varsity — was shot dead. Agitated over the murder, around 600 students Monday blocked the Delhi-Howrah rail route for hours demanding that those involved in the murder be handed over to them.

One of the five students on hunger strike, Mohammed Ibrahim, BA final, told IANS: “The question of our withdrawing the agitation does not arise. We are on a peaceful agitation and within the legal framework. Our one point demand now is the removal of the vice chancellor. The next step would be a fast at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.”

Vice Chancellor P.K. Azis has blamed “outsiders” for disturbing peace on the campus.

Many people feel it’s a fight between fundamentalists and a seemingly liberal and modern VC who has tried to give AMU a pan Indian profile, one that can be called techno-savvy and modern.

An official Saturday told IANS on phone that the university administration had arranged adequate means of transport, including special trains and buses, to help students return to their homes without any difficulty. He said a large number of students had started leaving the campus, but students on hunger strike said many of their friends have protested the move and were in no mood to return.

A majority of students who have nothing to do with the agitation are worried at the turn of events. “The closure will affect our studies. Many of us have to appear for competitive exams. The sooner the deadlock is resolved the better,” said one, not wanting to be identified.