Published: 05th May 2020
AMU shuts off electricity at hostels to force students to go home during lockdown 3.0
AMU arranged buses for the students, stating that they could go back home if they living within Uttar Pradesh or in the states close to it
The students of Aligarh Muslim University have accused the administration of shutting off electricity at their hostels in order to pressurise them to leave the premises. When the lockdown was announced, a large number of students immediately left to their hometowns, but many preferred to stay back at the hostel either because they couldn't find a way home or felt it was a more secure space to be in.
"Many students feel that the hostel is a safer space than their homes. Many of them don't come from very privileged backgrounds and staying back in the hostels seemed a better option for them with lesser risk of infection and maintaining social distancing. AMU had announced that it wasn't compulsory for the students to leave so several students stayed back," one of the students said.
According to the student, for two-three weeks, the students had no trouble. AMU then arranged buses for the students, stating that they could go back home if they lived in nearby places within Uttar Pradesh or in the states close to it. "The students were prepared to board the buses but some of them were still hesitant as they were scared they'd be forced into quarantines in their home towns. But many did agree to go, however, the district authorities didn't grant permission, so they had to stay back," he narrated.
Then again a few days earlier, the University arranged for buses to leave at 9 am but the bus only left at around 3 pm, "The students had to go through tedious formalities all along the way after spending six hours waiting for the bus. They were told that they needed to get thermal scans before they left, in order to be allowed into another district. By the time they reached their hometowns, it was midnight. There again they were made to stay back."
Giving us an example of what happened in Saharanpur, the student said that when the AMU students reached the district, the district magistrate asked them to take a thermal scan again, "This was after they had spoken to him and were made to believe that they didn't have to go through one again if they produced the one they took in Aligarh. And since they reached in the middle of the night, they had to wait till the next morning to get their scans before they could go home," he explained. Besides it being late at night, there was another thing that was worrying them too, "They were made to wait in an open field in the middle of the night. It was in that same field that the migrant workers had been forced to remain."
This happened to the students who boarded the bus, for those that didn't, life got tough too, "The administration cut off electricity for hours together. One, it is very hot but second, many of the students are fasting. So to do this during Ramzan, is very unfair to the students."
Given how a majority of the students are Muslim, almost all of them are fasting. "They (AMU) are doing this when most of the students are fasting. This petty action is inhumane, deplorable and fascist. They are throwing the students out as they did on the morning of December 16 (police attack on students during anti-CAA protests), barely hours after committing unspeakable atrocities on them," said another student from the University in a post on Facebook.
She also pointed out the timing of the incident, "I will not hold any grudge because this is Ramadan, the month of forgiveness. But I hold the university administration accountable on behalf of all the mothers who didn't sleep last night, worried and praying for the safe passage of all daughters and sons."
We've reached out the administration for a response and will update the copy when we receive one.