UP police vs AMU students: 20 FIRs in 4 years, all based on police complaints

Since 2019, FIRs were filed against students for protests on campus, social media posts, and comments given to media.

WrittenBy:Sumedha Mittal
Date:
Illustration of a police boot stamping on protesters.
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If you’re a student of Aligarh Muslim University and you’re critical of the government in power, consider yourself warned.

Newslaundry found that since 2019, the Uttar Pradesh police lodged 20 FIRs against AMU students for protests or social media posts critical of the government, its policies, or right-wing ideologies. The FIRs were filed against 175 named students and 1,600 unnamed students. Most of them were Muslim.

All 20 FIRs are based on complaints from the police themselves.

At least four faculty and administrative personnel, three of whom are part of AMU’s executive council, blame former vice-chancellor, Tarikh Mansoor, for propagating a culture of not protecting his students. 

It was under Mansoor’s tenure that in December 2019, the UP police brutally assaulted students on campus. Newslaundry had reported at the time that the police entered the campus after receiving written permission from the registrar.

After Mansoor resigned in April 2023, the BJP appointed him as a member of UP’s legislative council – a move that surprised no one since he’s reportedly known to have ties to the BJP and the RSS.

AMU’s current acting vice-chancellor is Mohammad Gulrez, appointed soon after Mansoor’s resignation. It’s worth mentioning that since he took over, the UP police has filed one such FIR against students. But faculty members said they’ve written to him formally to “criticise the police’s action of criminalising students” but did not “hear back”. 

“He is an accidental vice-chancellor,” said a faculty member. “He is neither politically active nor is he bold enough to resist the police’s pressure.”

Another faculty member said, “We have never seen him showing restraint towards such a thing, nor has he favoured such police’s actions. Because he is not bothered. He has just put the responsibility on the proctor's office to handle such things.” 

Newslaundry tried contacting Gulrez for comment and also emailed him a questionnaire. This report will be updated if he responds.

1 FIR over Ram Temple 

On August 8, 2020, three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, news channels gathered at AMU’s canteen to ask students what they thought. It’s unclear why news channels thought it was important to do so.

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