Campus security: debatable issue, if it is.

ehtesham d great

(Alamgeer’s demise not only revealed the irresponsibility and failure of the proctor and the administration but also did compel the students to think over the insecurity they had been in since last few years due to their negligence on the ill-social elements in the campus.)

On sixteenth of October, this year, Aligarh Muslim University’s student leaders, general students and proctor team went into huddle in the Dharna area in front of Vice-Chancellor’s lodge. The reason at hand was (it still is) quiet weighty. Fifty or more students and their leaders along with Alamgeer’s father deliberated options that had (and have) the potential of triggering a possible first sine-die in the five year tenure of the current Vice Chancellor, Lt Gen (Retd) Zameeruddin Shah. It was just four weeks since four unknown bikers had targeted Alamgeer and shot him to death near the computer centre in the campus. The incident had provoked the campus outrage and there was tremendous public pressure on the Vice Chancellor and proctor to retaliate.

Almost all the reasons discussed by the student leaders revolved around the mismanagement and carelessness of the administration and the vice chancellor. The vice chancellor (if careless he was) had sent a letter to the chief minister of the state, AkhileshYadav demanding a CBI enquiry into the matter on the very next day of the incident. the anger among the studentslater, was condensed by the holiday leave in campus in account to Bakrid which lasted for about a week and so and the majority of the students returned back to their respective places and later on coming back no such momentum could be created for calling up a protest by the student leaders of the university.

The murder raised a series of questions. The timing of the murder was exactly two hours past the students returned from a protest against a remark made by a Hindu YuvaVahini leader on the university as a ‘nursery of terrorism’. The protest registered thousands of students from the campus. Interestingly, the protest was headed by student leaders and Alamgeer who later was killed brutally. Some of the students believed that the murder was retaliation to their protest. The police officials denied such arguments.

“The protest was huge. I don’t remember any other protest like this one in my three years stay in the campus. The students turned up in a huge amount. Alamgeer was also with us. He was actively heading the protest. It’s certainly their (ABVP) work. They are known for creating violence after all”, said a student.

The incident happened in broad day light inside the university. However, the campus not only is being guarded by hundreds of bulls and the proctor team but also is watched by cameras worth millions. Later, a controversy erupted on the camera clip being provided by the proctor to the police officials. The proctor claimed to avail the clip to the police but the police officials denied. They claimed that no such clip had been provided by the proctor. The cameras never worked, is what came out. The failed cameras and the escape of the murderers proved the mismanagement and inefficiency of the university administration. Allegations of corruption from the security budget were raised by a leader. The camera clip controversy and the claim of the proctor over the camera clip added strength to the allegations made the leader on the administration.

Putting things aside, a murder in a central university campus itself is a havoc issue. Concern of the security of more than twenty-seven thousands students (if on sake) is a debatable subject. Alamgeer’s demise not only revealed the irresponsibility and failure of the proctor and the administration but also did compel the students to think over the insecurity they had been in since last few years due to their negligence on the ill-social elements in the campus. Several times in the past few years, certain situations have appeared that some non-students residing in the campus have used weapons on the students for the matters that evolved out of the negative aspect of regionalism.

Use of weapons had been a growing trend in the campus since long. Previously, a number of sine-die took place due to the induction of frequent used weapons inside the university premises.

“I joined this institution last year with high dreams. My first month was very interesting. I came through the traditions this university was known for. The intro (introductive session) was a great experience. Second month turned a lot more adventurous, when the election date of AMUSU was declared. Rallies, tea-parties and those revolutionary speeches were new to me. It attracted me for the same. I shouted those fascinating slogans for my favourite candidate. Then came the day of voting and then the counting. I didn’t know where the counting took place. My room partner took me to Sir Syed (North) Hall where the scenario was ghastly and hair-raising.

Students with whom I shouted those slogans had dangerous weapons (later my senior told me that it was called katta) in their hands and they were firing bullets in air. I ran back, out of horror. My senior called me and said it happens here. I would get used to it with time. It was the first time (except in movies) that I had seen bullets being fired in real. Hundreds of students with weapons fired bullets as lucidly as if they had water-guns in their hands. I was compelled to make a second opinion about the place”, said a second year graduation student (he asked me not to reveal his identity).

Elections are not the only occasion when the weapons are used. A minor issue may invite you a bullet in your leg, if the issue deals with someone with good contacts. Earlier this month a report of murder attempt of a student gained attention, when the student revealed the reason of attack on him to the proctor. The attempt was made by a non-student residing in the campus illegally. The reason of the attack was silliest for the sake of a human life. The victim had applied for the hall post of his hall and the attacker (not a student) wanted someone else to be the post-holder.

This incident was followed by another protest march after which the administration promised to take appropriate measures. Though, only a few days after the protest and the contentment from the administration, the accused was free enough to repeat his mischievous acts as he did in the past.

Alamgeer’s demise, which left a series of questions (that are unanswered, still) on the hoax security of the campus also brought the uselessness of the student leaders into light.  There protest for CBI enquiry into the matter seemed mere a formality. Stunts like hunger strike were proved to be futile.  Few of the leaders advocated the administration during the protest itself. Later, the protest was called off all of a sudden and no more ‘We want justice’ slogan was heard afterwards. Altogether, the protest was a big disappointment.

Looking into these mischievous acts and the dull anticipation of the administration and then even dull assurance of the student leaders, the question of security remains uncertain.

-Sharjeel Usmani

(the writer is a student of Diploma Engineering at Aligarh Muslim University. He can be reached at sharjeelu@gmail.com)

 

 

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