Crushing the Future and Campus Democracy | Sharjeel Usmani

Junaid Ahmad who himself was not a research scholar was targeted, had a suspension letter been released on his name. His fault was that he was a part of a peaceful protest. Its seems very awful when we see the incident concomitantly with what Hamid Ansari, Hon’ble Vice-President of India and proud alumnus of AMU, meant in 2015 at ITM university (MP), “dissent is citizens’ right and duty to judge democracy”.

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), in the recent few years, has been into the media coverage for some good, some bad and some worse news.

Be it the library issue which invited a media-hype because of Vice Chancellor, Zameer Uddin Shah’s controversial remarks. Later Alamgeer, a student of the university residing in Viqarul Mulk Hall was shot dead on the campus. Students demanded a CBI enquiry over the matter. After long protests well shaken with petty politics, the issue was left to stale. A few months later, two more murders shook the roots of the university – when a fight between two student groups, unfortunately very much on the campus, led to murder of two ex-students. Amid all these chaos, the varsity was ranked number two position in the country.

Time was twelve at night. Place was university gateway Bãb-e-Syed. Scene was- hundreds of female research scholars sitting on road, peacefully, in demand of their rights. The center of the road was captured by the female students and surrounding them were their male colleagues with the same motive. Silence would break with ‘We want Justice’ slogans after every short moment of silence which would later be accompanied by speeches. Student leaders, proctor’s semi-cops and the general students made the whole scenario a bit different from the older protests ever held on the campus. The difference- this time- was presence of the female students and that too most senior members. This was the first time, female students were a part of an all night protest.

Research scholars in AMU demonstrated a forty-eight hour long protest at the Bãb-e-Syed to press for their genuine demands and to get the dictatorial order of the administration revoked. This peaceful protest was the retaliation to the illogical and unsatisfactory decision made by the administration. The decision had three points of disturbance among the research scholars of the varsity which were – (a) No research scholar will get hostel facility for more than three years, (b) there will be no summer hostel for research scholars and the last, to the most astonishment, (c) the research scholars who will be admitted in this year shall not be entitled to hostel accommodation.

Later, after witnessing the will power of the students, the administration was forced to revoke the decisions and all the deans including Dean, Students’ Welfare (DSW) assured all the students that all their demands shall be met and there will be no action –whatsoever- it might be, against any student.

Shockingly, soon after the vacations started, Junaid Ahmad who himself was not a research scholar was targeted, had a suspension letter been released on his name. ‘Junaid turned out to be a soft victim of the administration’, wrote Abdullah Azzam, former President of Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union (AMUSU), on his facebook page. Another protest in solidarity was not possible as the students were back to their places due to vacations – such was the level of cleverness of the administration.

It is said that dissent has always acted as the feedback in the democratic system and freedom of thought/ speech/ expression nurtures an evolving society. The institutional murder of Rohit Vemula, student of Hyderabad University led a strong mobilization of students which later emerged as a vast student movement and students from every corner of the country were a part of the movement. This movement proved fatal for the current BJP government and later the breakdown of this student-power came into the game. The anti-national game.

It was the administration that was responsible for Rohit Vemuls’s death and now the administrative bodies have found this dictatorial order as a new tool to crush the student power. AMU has set a new example of crushing the right to dissent by suspending Junaid Ahmad. Junaid was just a part of a peaceful protest. The peaceful protest was a part of any citizen’s democratic right. His suspension proves that the administrative bodies are not in mood to allow any democracy in the campuses.

Any educational institution should have an aura to nurture courage to speak fearlessly. If a student can’t roar today they will be forced to mew tomorrow. It is said that students are the future of the nation. If the future is silenced now, our tomorrow would be hopeless and gloomy. Situations created to crush student voices for political gain are threats to the future of our nation. Dissent is a need.

Views expressed by the author are personal.

Published on: Jun 12, 2016 @ 20:20 

Awaam India

Awaam India

Awaam India is online platform founded by researchers and senior students of Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. Awaam stands for dissemination and promotion of progressive and constructive ideas in the society.