Published: 11th November 2017
Aligarh student assaulted at AMU's Kerala campus: North Indian students on protest to end 'discrimination'
In what is a worrisome allegation of a divide between North Indian and local students in Kerala, things seem to be coming to a boil in Malappuram
What is happening at Aligarh Muslim University's Malappuram campus? After close to a month of clashes between two groups of students, a slew of suspensions and a lot of tension, one section has begun an indefinite strike - a direct result of an attack on an MBA student by goons when we went to the market. An FIR has been registered and the police are trying to find out who beat the boy up.
Incidentally, the section is composed entirely of students from North Indian states and their chief allegation is that they are being discriminated against and abused by students from the region. This, despite the fact that they outnumber students from South India at a ratio of 8:1. They have started a Facebook page demanding justice for their cause and several students reached out to Edexlive.
Out-lawed: The college circulated an order in which eight students have been named suspended
Nadeem Khan, a first-year MBA student and a native of Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, was thrashed by around 15 people in public and has accused the administration of uniting with local students to cover the incident. He has alleged that his attackers were carrying his picture, and after a short search accosted him near a daily needs shop. "My assault was well planned, and after a point I knew they were following me. The one thing they said while beating me was that 'this is not Aligarh'," he adds in a mournful voice. He also says that in the past his senior hostel mates have said the same with an added "you are far from home" thrown in for good measure.
He adds that the cops were more than supportive whereas the college administration did little to even help register an FIR. Remembering the incident, he laments that the three students who were with him at the time of the incident have returned home to Aligarh because of the brazen threats. What about him? "Even I wanted to go home, but if I did, who would raise a voice against this injustice?"
All for one: The students have protested and submitted an ultimatum to the administration with certain conditions
While Kerala is a beautiful place and has reputed institutions, Nadeem's allegations regarding the bias on campus are anything but light. He adds that even the local administration is biased and the college has strategically placed locals in most positions. "Even the hall representatives are locals and the entire administration refuses to be nice to us. The discrimination we face range from petty fines (only imposed on us) and misuse of authority, among many others."
He further states that during hostel checking, the management only checked the rooms of north Indian students and gave them a show cause notice. While sharp weapons like knives and other objects were found in the rooms of students from Kerala, they were given minimal punishment, equivalent to that of the complainants.
Meanwhile, the centre's Registrar Javed Akthar denied any unrest and maintained that investigations are ongoing and efforts are on to control the situation. "Two-three days ago some guys beat up a student near the petrol pump. The students accused some goons who they alleged were sent by Kerala students. The proctor registered an FIR and police visited the centre the next day," he said. He did rubbish allegations of misconduct and discrimination saying the campus was clean of such activity. Nadeem was among seven other students who were handed out punishments for breach of college rules earlier this month.
While doubts and questions loom over the allegations and counters floating around the campus, there are yet more that aim to highlight a hidden secret. "When the Vice-Chancellor visits, the administration selects the students and questions and converts it into a closed discussion. They choose who attends and what is asked," Nadeem adds in an agitated voice.
The AMU centre in Kerala has students from all over North India as part of its internal student transfers. The centre has around 400 students from the north while 60 make up the number for south India, particularly Kerala. The incidents have drawn condemnation and criticism after being put up on Facebook.