The proctor of Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh stepped down on Tuesday, days after the institution’s Students Coordination Committee demanded the resignation of top university officials for failing to stop police violence on campus on December 15, The Indian Express reported. Professor Afifullah Khan, however, did not say why he had resigned.
The protestors want Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor, Registrar Abdul Hamid, and the dean of students’ welfare to step down. Faizul Hassan, a member of the student coordination committee and a former students’ union president, welcomed Khan’s decision to step down but said the students would continue their agitation till their other demands were met.
“After 51 days of protests, only one demand has been met,” Hassan said. “The resignation of the proctor is a positive response. We won’t end our agitation until the other top three officials resign. The registrar and VC did not do anything when police entered the campus and thrashed the students.”
On the night of December 15, a group of students at the university had organised a rally in protest against police violence at Delhi’s Jamia Millia University earlier in the day, and the Citizenship Amendment Act. A fact-finding report found that law-enforcement officials had fired stun grenades “usually used in war-like situations or terror operations” at students, and raised “chilling slogans like Jai Shri Ram while attacking the students and setting ablaze their scooters and vehicles...” The independent inquiry team said the university administration “not only failed in their duty to protect the campus and its residents against brutality by the Uttar Pradesh Police, but also that they in fact invited the police forces and their weapons into the campus”. Six students were injured in the incident.
Later that month, Mansoor expressed regret, and claimed the decision to summon the police was taken in “good faith and a clear conscience” as it had become important to disperse protestors as they had become unruly on hearing that two student demonstrators at Jamia Millia had been killed. It later turned out to be a rumour.
The university spokesperson Omar Peerzada told The Indian Express on Tuesday that Khan had resigned voluntarily. “Accepted the registration tendered by Professor Afifullah Khan from the post of proctor with immediate effect on his own request,” AMU Joint Registrar Minhaj A Khan said.
The vice chancellor has appointed Professor Mohammad Wasim Ali of the law department as the new proctor, The Times of India reported. Ali told The Indian Express that reaching out to the protesting students, many of who have boycotted classes and examinations, would be his priority. “I will reach out and interact with the students who are boycotting the classes and examinations,” he added. “A majority of the students, who are career-oriented, are willing to end their boycott and return to classes and sit for the examinations. I will take into account their demands and problems and persuade them to call off their agitation. There is no magic solution to solve the crisis. This is the only priority for me now.”