The Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union (AMUSU) elections are to be finally held on October 8 and the candidates filed their fresh nomination yesterday. Initially scheduled to be held on September 27, they were cancelled by the Vice Chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah after a specially convened meeting of the varsity’s executive council members on September 21, three days after the candidates had initially filed their nominations.
On September 19, two days after the nomination of the AMUSU elections, the Reserved Action Force (RAF) was deployed on campus. The reason for this was not confirmed. AMU spokesperson Rahat Abrar told Newslaundry that there had been a few violent incidents on the campus and the district administration felt the need to deploy the RAF as a precaution. Abrar was possibly referring to incidents in April, when two people were killed in a clash between rival student groups on campus. Afterwards, a mob had vandalised different parts of AMU.
On September 22, student leaders staged a strike in front of the Vice Chancellor’s lodge demanding the order to cancel the elections be revoked.These continued until the varsity administration gave the date for fresh elections to be held on September 24.
Several students are also demanding proper medical facilities for the students in the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, the hospital attached to AMU. Recently, a final-year engineering student, Sabir Hussain, died of dengue and there were allegations of negligence which lead to the suspension of a junior resident and a nurse. In the past, two students had died of kidney failure.
There is also a concern that there are few women representatives in the union elections. “The rate of participation of female students in the AMUSU elections is very low. One of the biggest reasons of this scarce participation is because of two separate unions. It is a sign of sheer biasness,” said Snowy Rahi, a Sociology student at AMU.