BJP’s 2019 election campaign has started, thus the attempts to divide people, imposing Pakistani/jihadi tags: Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union leader
Mohd Fahad, honorary secretary of the Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union (AMUSU), who was injured in the attack by cops at the AMU campus gate on May 2, talks to SWATI SENGUPTA from Aligarh:
Tell us what happened on May 2…
Former Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari saab was inside the AMU campus. He was to deliver a lecture and would be honoured lifetime membership of the AMUSU. Other lifetime members of AMUSU include Mahatma Gandhi, B.R Ambedkar, C.V. Raman, Jawaharlal Nehru among others. Two hours before this programme, some Hindu Yuva Vahini and RSS activists came to the gate and started shouting slogans, brandishing weapons and firearms. The distance between the gate and the guest house where Hamid Ansari saab was staying, is barely 50 metres. Eventually, the police took them away. They had torn the clothes of the security guard. But instead of arresting them, the HYV and RSS activists were just taken to the police station, given protection and led elsewhere by the police.
When we had learnt about this, we gathered near the campus gate, preparing to go to the police station to lodge an FIR. It was then that police stopped us, preventing us from going anywhere and started lathicharging on us. Around this time, nearly 60 HYV activists came along with the police and attacked us.
How many students were injured? We have heard you were injured too…
Twenty five students were injured in this attack. I was hit by lathis and firearms butts. AMUSU president Maskoor Ahmed Usmani was injured along with many others. I have been injured on the legs, arms, shoulder and chest. Eight students remain admitted in hospital now. I was given the same advice by doctors, but I wanted to join the students who are on a sit-in demonstration at the campus gate now.
How many students are participating in the agitation? What are your demands?
Nearly 8,000 students are on a dharna. There has been no arrest, no investigation so far. Internet services have been snapped in Aligarh. We want an investigation, arrest of the criminals, a judicial inquiry into the lathicharge episode. Action must be taken against BJP MP Satish Gautam, who has been instigating some elements to create trouble.
Why has AMU been at the centre of so many controversies over the past few years?
The politicians should be able to answer that. The BJP’s agenda and campaign for the 2019 elections has already started. Therefore the attempt to divide people, and to create a vicious atmosphere by imposing the Pakistani and jihadi tags. There has been a constant attack on all educational institutions all over India – from Jawarhal Nehru University, Hyderbad University, Delhi University’s Ramjas College…
Does it feel sad and angry to live an existence where belonging to a particular religion has been reason for being under attack?
I don’t look at it like that. We are Indians and we are proud Indians. Being under attack is a truth nowadays. But we want peace and we demand peaceful resolution of the matter. This was all pre-planned and organised. We were not being attacked, we felt the attack was being planned on Hamid Ansari saab. Why should such slogan shouting and brandishing of firearms happen on the day he was here for such an important event? The programme had to be cancelled.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has said that there is no question of celebrating Muhammad Ali Jinnah in India. Under the circumstances, do you think you will get justice?
What the chief minister may have said has nothing to do with the attack on us that day. We want action against those who organised it. The portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah has been there since 1938 as he is a lifetime member of the AFUSU. Moreover, as I have said earlier, the issue is not Muhammad Ali Jinnah here. We will continue our peaceful agitation till we get justice.