Mehbooba Mufti Supports AMU Students Accused of Sedition, Calls Mannan Wani ‘Victim of Violence’

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday described Hizbul Mujahideen militant Mannan Bashir Wani, who was killed in a gun battle with security forces, as a “victim of relentless violence in Kashmir”.

The PDP president said this while demanding withdrawal of cases against three Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students from the Valley who were booked after they allegedly tried to hold a prayer meeting for Wani on Friday. “It will be a travesty to punish them (students) for remembering their former colleague (Wani) who was a victim of relentless violence in Kashmir,” Mehbooba said in a tweet.

Twenty-seven-year-old Wani, who was pursuing a PhD course in allied geology at the AMU, had quit the university and joined militant ranks in January.

The three Kashmiri students were booked for sedition for allegedly raising “anti-India” slogans and trying to hold a prayer meeting for the Hizbul ‘commander’, a day after he was killed in a gun battle with security forces in north Kashmir’s Handwara area.

Mehbooba also asked the Centre to intervene in the matter. “Pushing youth to the wall will be counter productive. Centre must intervene in withdrawing cases against students & AMU authorities must revoke their suspension,” she said in another post on Twitter.

The former chief minister said state governments outside Jammu and Kashmir should be sensitive to the situation and prevent further alienation.

In the wake of the suspension of the three Kashmiri students, more than 1,200 students from Jammu and Kashmir studying at the varsity have threatened to leave for their homes on October 17, if the sedition charges against the three were not dropped.

In a letter to the AMU Proctor, students of Jammu and Kashmir studying at the university said no prayers or any relevant activity was observed and the directions of the university were duly followed.

The tense situation as reported in the media caused a serious concern among the students at Aligarh Muslim University. The students at the university in panic were discussing the situation emerging in the Valley at the Kennedy Hall Lawn, and were peacefully talking among each other. “No prayers or any relevant activity was observed, and the directions of the AMU Proctor were duly followed,” the students said in the letter.

They said some non-Kashmiri people armed with lathis attacked the sitting students and caused massive disturbance and noisy scenes. However, the Kashmiri students dispersed immediately and no protest or law and order violation took place.

“Later, a vilification campaign against the students from Jammu and Kashmir was started by media that Kashmiri students violated the law and disturbed the peace in the campus. Though nothing of that sort had happened and the same was later confirmed by PRO AMU to the media,” the letter read.

The students said they strongly condemn the fabricated allegations and a systematic vilification campaign against the students and the university. “We take strong objection to fabricating cases against Kashmiri students and thereby attempting to jeopardise our career. We, the students from Kashmir are law abiding and did not breach the guaranteed freedom of speech, or act, they s adding peace at AMU campus has always been the first priority of all Kashmiri students.”

Referring to the suspension of students by the university and subsequent sedition charges, the students refuted the allegations of violation of law and order and demanded an end to defamation of highly educated Kashmiri scholars. “We demand an immediate revocation of suspension orders/show cause notices and an urgent withdrawal of the sedition charges and relevant legal sections against AMU scholars. Imposing such sections is to threaten the Kashmiri students at the university and is a cause of serious concern. We cannot stay at the campus with the burden of these politically motivated and fabricated charges,” they said.

The students threatened to surrender their degrees and leave for their homes if the suspension is not revoked and case withdrawn by Wednesday. “We, the 1200 students will surrender our degrees and leave for our homes for reasons of safety and security. All the responsibility in that case will fall on the University, and local administration. We are feeling threatened and challenged and our career development is under stake, under such fearful circumstances,” the letter reads.

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