A first information report has been filed against 20 named and 500 unidentified students of the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh after they allegedly protested against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, officials said on Wednesday, according to PTI. The widely opposed legislation was passed in the Rajya Sabha after a nine-hour-long debate, with 125 votes in its favour and 105 against.
The FIR was filed on Tuesday night for defying restrictive orders under Section 144, which prohibits gathering of more than four people, and organising a protest near Faiz Gate of the campus. “Section 144 has been clamped all over the city and the students had violated this provision by marching up to the University Circle and trying to disturb the peace due to which FIRs have been registered under relevant sections against 20 student leaders,” said Civil Lines’ Station House Officer Amit Kumar.
Those named in the FIR included former student union president Faizul Hussain and outgoing student body chief Salman Imtiaz.
Some of the protestors misbehaved with the police officials after which the report was registered, Superintendent of Police (City) Abhishek told The Hindu. The students were charged under Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty) of the Indian Penal Code.
“We have deployed extra force outside the campus to meet any eventuality,” Abhishek said. Rapid Action Force, Provincial Armed Constabulary, and officials from four police stations have been deployed as precautionary measure, according to The Indian Express.
However, Aligarh Muslim University Proctor Professor Afifullah Khan said the students’ peaceful march began from the University Library and ended at the University Circle.
Professor Najmul Islam, the secretary of the Aligarh Muslim University Teachers’ Association said that they might not be able to participate in the protests but they were making efforts to persuade the politicians to reconsider the bill. “...We foresee a very dangerous fall out of these events not just in the country but in our neighbourhood also,” Islam said, adding that they were inviting senior political leaders of all national parties to discuss the consequences of the draft law.
“We are also trying to meet the prime minister in a bid to persuade him to have a relook at the bill,” the professor added.
Meanwhile, students have reportedly launched a 24-hour hunger strike, and threatened to boycott their academic activities. However, the university administration refuted this report and said that classes were held according to routine.
Outgoing student body chief Imtiaz said that protesting students had skipped the last three meals, but appeared for the exams. Another protest was held at Aligarh Muslim University Girls’ College that saw participation from hundreds of students.