AMU Vice Chancellor heckled at Republic Day function

AMU Vice Chancellor heckled at Republic Day function

 Tariq Mansoor. (Credit: AMU website)

 AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor was on Sunday heckled by a group of students during his Republic Day speech here soon after he termed as "unfortunate" the recent happenings on the campus and said peaceful protests will be allowed on any issue within the ambit of law.

The incident occurred when the VC was addressing the Republic Day function held amid tight security at the Aligarh Muslim University, which has been rocked by protests by students and teachers against the amended citizenship law.

The Vice Chancellor was giving his concluding remarks when a group of students raised slogans demanding his removal and a minor tussle ensued between two groups of students in the audience before the security staff stepped in, according to eyewitnesses.

Four of the hecklers were whisked away by the security staff and taken to the Proctor's office but were later released, they said.

There was no response from police or AMU to queries on the incident.

However, the spokesman of the Students' Coordination Committee, Ansab Amir, told reporters that a few students who were protesting during the Vice Chancellor's speech were picked up by the University's security staff and reportedly taken to the police station.

According to available information they have now been released. He identified the students as Tahir Azmi, Rafiuddin, Sudhir Gulati and AM Faraz.

Amir said the agitating students held a separate programme celebrating Republic Day at their dharna site.

Delivering his speech, the Vice Chancellor pledged to protect the minority character of the university.

"The recent happenings in the campus have been unfortunate. I have always stood and will always stand by my students, teachers and AMU fraternity," Prof Mansoor said.

"AMU is committed to allow peaceful protest on any issue within the ambit of law," he said.

"We are committed to protection and preservation of minority character and historical legacy of the university," he said.

Mansoor said, "Tolerance of all religions has always been the cornerstone of Indian culture and our Constitution seeks to build an equitable society where all citizens enjoy equal rights."

Addressing the function, the former President of AMU Students' Union, Faizul Hasan said, "This is the day to honour our freedom and our Constitution. We are however continuing our peaceful protest to safeguard our Constitution and the foundational values of our republic."

Hasan, however, cautioned the students against doing anything during the protest which would provide "an excuse to the authorities to take action against them and thus bring a premature end to the dharna".

Asked about the protests, Secretary of AMU Teachers' Association Najmul Islam said, "Today is a day to celebrate the foundational values of our republic and I would not like to say anything beyond this."

"Our peaceful agitation against the CAA will continue. However, I would once again urge the students to end their boycott of classes and exams even while they are continuing with their protest," he said.

Meanwhile, there was some commotion in the campus on Saturday night as police raided the residence of a senior university faculty member, Prof Tariq Usmani. They were apparently searching for his son Sharjeel Usmani, a prominent student leader. 

According to Prof Usmani, his son was not present but the police "misbehaved" with him and asked him to report at the police station on Monday. Usmani said that the police had no written orders seeking his presence at the police station.

A large number of senior members of the University staff reached the site and the situation was soon defused. 

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