ALIGARH: The threat by some Kashmiri student leaders studying at the Aligarh Muslim University to leave the University en masse on October 17 if the local authorities continue to harass them over the aborted attempt by some Kashmiri students to hold “Ghaibana Namaz-e-Janaza” (Funeral prayer in absentia) of the slain terrorist, Abdul Mannan Wani, in Kashmir, has set the alarm bells ringing not just at AMU but also in official circles in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satyapal Malik, who has close connections at AMU having represented the Aligarh Lok Sabha seat in the late 1980s, is reported to be in touch with the AMU authorities in a bid to resolve the issue before it erupts into a full blown crisis. Both the University authorities and the state authorities in Jammu and Kashmir are aware of the ramifications of any such exodus.

Former President of AMU Students’ Union, Mashkoor Ahmad Usmani, whose tenure ended recently, told this writer, “Everyone knows that Namaz-e-Janaza was not held although some students from Kashmir had collected inside the campus and were contemplating whether they should do or not. Fortunately, a large number of AMU Students’ Union leaders and some senior Kashmiri students prevented this from happening”.

Usmani said, “There is no question of allowing any anti-national act to occur in our campus and we are determined not to permit any one to do so”.

Usmani said, “I am not aware whether a couple of Azadi slogans were raised when the Kashmiri students were dispersing after the aborted prayer meeting and that is for the authorities to look into. As far as I am concerned, the central issue is not this but it is the alarming fact that a large number of Kashmiri educated youth are now being lured into militant ranks. It is this issue which has to be addressed by the state”.

Similar sentiments were expressed by another prominent student leader at AMU, Faizul Hasan, who is also a former President of the AMU Students’ Union. Hasan who played a prominent role on Thursday in defusing the situation when some Kashmiri students had collected near Kennedy Hall, today said, “We fully support the right to freedom of expression but we made it clear to the Kashmiri students that anything which smacks of anti-nationalism will not be allowed to take place at the campus”.

Hasan said, “Most Kashmiri students had on Thursday responded positively to this stand and it was only when the crowd had dispersed that some hot heads may have raised Azadi slogans which were later shown on a video clip”.

The AMU Registrar, Abdul Hamid, is however confident that the issue will not reach crisis point and the reported threat of Kashmiri students to move out of the campus “would not take place”.

Hamid said, “We are very clear that no innocent student would be harassed and any action would only take place after the University’s time bound probe is over”.

Although the University authorities and the district administration have not admitted this, it is quite clear that there are some gaping holes in both the show cause notice issued to the nine Kashmiri students by the AMU authorities and the FIR filed by the police in Civil Lines Police Station in which two students identified as Wasim Ayub Malik from the Biochemistry Department and Abdul Hamid Meer from the History department have been charged of sedition on the basis of the video clip in which the Azadi slogans are raised.

Senior AMU student leaders said that while they are determined not to allow this issue to disturb the campus peace, they are quick to point out that some local BJP leaders are hell bent on raking up such sensitive issues solely with the objective of fishing in troubled waters on the eve of the 2019 elections. These AMU leaders allege that the local BJP leaders have been constantly raising the heat on such issues and also mounting pressure on local authorities.