Friday, August 6, 2010

AMU Vice-Chancellor is mislead and misleading

Aligarh, August 6- This refer to the Press Release by the Public Relation Officer, AMU Dr.Rahat Abrar on August 1, 2010 to report the Press Conference organized by the Vice-Chancellor, AMU.

Aligarh Muslim University has captured a lot of space in the National Media for the last few months for illegal suspensions of students for practicing freedom of speech and expression to air the grievances of the students, a fundamental right as ensured under article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution. The PRO Office AMU has the dubious distinction of misleading the Indian Media about the draconian crackdown on the students which is a commonplace under the regime of the tainted Vice-Chancellor Prof. P.K.Abdul Azis who want to silence the slightest criticism from the students on the subject of civil liberties, human rights and financial bungling. Earlier in a Press Release of 15 November, 2010 the PRO stated, “During the last 2 years, the University administration has not suspended or rusticated any student for violation of code of conduct rules.” However their blatant lie was exposed when a report on it was published in THE HINDU “According to the RTI response, in 2007, 32 students were suspended in September, six in August, 26 in October and 15 in November. In 2008, roughly 10 students were suspended. Of the students who were suspended in 2007, 28 students were rusticated in 2008. Thirty-one students were suspended in 2009 of which 18 were suspended in November. Of the suspended students, four were rusticated. In 2010, 12 students had been suspended till April taking the total count to 148 students who had been suspended, rusticated or both.(

Again the AMU authorities are apparently misleading the media and the world about the sad state of affairs here where students are at the end. In the recent Press Release it is stated “Replying to a question Prof. Azis said that the University has suspended four students in 2010”, whereas in a RTI respon vide D.No.144 /Proc dated 14.06.2010 se the Proctor Office informed me that they have suspended 14 students till date ( Irfan Khan, Jamil Akhtar, Shahnawaz Alam, Dhananjay Singh Jadon, Rohit Sharma, Roopendra Singh, Rizwan Abid, Tanzeel Ahmad, Mohd. Maaz, Kumar Gaurav, Mohd Faheem, Afaq Ahmad, Md. Adil Hossain, Irfan Khan).

It seems either the Vice-Chancellor, AMU doesn’t bother to collect proper information from the Proctors Office or he want to defend his regime which is tainted with autocratic suspensions of brilliant students who dare to criticize him by lying to the world.

In another place it is written in the Press Release, “Referring to the allegation that democratic rights of AMU students were being undermined the Vice Chancellor said that the students were enjoying the right to air their grievances through Grievance Redressal Committees at department and hostel levels.”

It seems that the Vice-Chancellor has grossly misunderstood the concepts of democracy and above all democratic rights. Democratic rights (here this is referred to is the freedom of speech and expression) are not for seasons or for certain days but it exist every moment for every citizen living in a democracy and also it is not confined within a space. This is a universally accepted principle and it was aptly reflected in the ruling of United States Supreme Court in the case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969) wherein it states, “A student's rights, therefore, do not embrace merely the classroom hours. When he is in the cafeteria, or on the playing field, or on [513] the campus during the authorized hours, he may express his opinions,” it also went on to state "It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."

The Grievance Redressal Committees at the Department and Hostel levels are defunct bodies which neither empower neither students to air their grievances freely nor they have any legal validity. Since last students agitation no meeting of such committees have taken place and never happened to be fruitful. So the Vice-Chancellor is completely in darkness about the state of affairs of his own university. The students who had the grievances from January, 2010 till date where they would put up their problems if such committees exist in air ? The people who wrote the AMU Act, 1981 clearly gave the students their democratic representation in the statutory bodies like AMU Court and Academic Councils which the AMU Vice-Chancellor is ignoring violating his own duties under the statute 3(2) of the same Act. Secondly he showed his knowledge of democratic rights which should be brushed up by some expert on it when he suspended Mr.Irfan Khan, Research Scholar for speaking to the media “without the permission of lawful authorities”. The Irfan Khan case should hang our head in shame.

The Press Release of August 1 also stated, “The Vice Chancellor assured that the Students’ Union will be revived when the time is ripe.” It is the right of the students to have their Students Union under statute 34 of the AMU Act, 1981 and the sentence is written there is as “there shall be”, so its restoration is mandatory. When all exams are being conducted peacefully, when all meetings of AC, EC, Court are being conducted without any hassle what kind of peaceful academic atmosphere this Vice-Chancellor need to restore the AMUSU. He should better leave fooling around people with the words “ripe” when he does not want any democratic body at the campus which threaten his Sultanate.

AMU students are not fools and know it very well how to restore democracy and rule of law at the campus. With the growing resentment in the campus, and denying of any safety valve for releasing the pressure, the day is not far when another revolution will take place to witness some decisive moments for the “democratic rights”.

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