Aligarh Muslim University has suspended two Kashmiri students for allegedly trying to hold a prayer meeting for a militant who was killed in a gunfight with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, PTI reported on Friday.
Three students, including the two who were suspended, were booked for sedition after a video of them demanding ‘azadi’ (freedom) during a prayer meeting, reports said.
Mannan Bashir Wani, a scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University who joined militancy in January, was among two Hizbul Mujahideen militants killed in the encounter in Handwara town.
After news of Wani’s death reached the institute on Thursday, the Kashmiri students called out to other students from the state on social media, asking them to meet near the university’s library, The Indian Express reported. As they gathered to hold funeral prayers, university staff and student union leaders tried to stop them, leading to a heated exchange, the university’s spokesperson Professor Shafey Kidwai told PTI.
The Kashmiri students were moved out of the area before two of them were suspended, Kidwai said. On Friday, the university also issued notices to nine Kashmiri students, according to The Indian Express. The university formed a three-member committee to prepare a report into the matter, after which action will be taken, Kidwai said.
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has asked Aligarh Muslim University for a report on the incident, ANI reported.
Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, the MLA from Jammu and Kashmir’s Langate constituency in Kupwara, appealed to the university not to harass students from the state and said offering funeral prayers in absentia is not a crime under any law, reported Rising Kashmir. He alleged the university had taken the decision under pressure from BJP leaders.
Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union President Faizul Hasan told PTI that any act of treason or terror was unacceptable to the union, and it would not allow the university to be defamed by such unlawful activity.
Satish Gautam, the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Aligarh, said the students who wanted to hold a prayer meeting at the campus should be expelled.
Shutdown in Kashmir
Meanwhile, the Joint Resistance Leadership called for a complete shutdown in the Kashmir Valley on Friday to mourn Wani’s death, reported Greater Kashmir. All businesses were closed and public transport was off the roads in Srinagar. Authorities also suspended class work in all schools and colleges of the city.
Corrections and clarifications: The story has been edited to reflect that two Kashmiri students were suspended while three, including the two, were booked for sedition.