JNU row: protests in Aligarh Muslim University

Students and several senior faculty members participated in the protest meeting at the Kennedy Hall grounds.

February 18, 2016 04:18 pm | Updated November 26, 2021 10:24 pm IST - Aligarh

Students on Thursday held protests in the Aligarh Muslim University campus against the attack on students and journalists in Delhi’s Patiala House courts, with noted historian Irfan Habib saying the entire judicial system has come under threat from “hooligan forces”.

Students and several senior faculty members participated in the protest meeting at the Kennedy Hall grounds.

“Different students today came on a single platform to highlight the fact that if such incidents take place in the national capital in brazen defiance of the Supreme Court directives, then the very essence of democracy in India is under threat,” Mahfooz Alam, convener of the protest rally said.

Later speaking to PTI , noted historian, Mr. Habib said, “What has happened during the past few days is an open subversion of the judiciary of India within the precincts of the courts.

“What is a cause of serious concern is that the police appeared to be supporting hooligans despite the directive of the Supreme Court and in the presence of some lawyers appointed by the Supreme Court,” he said.

Mr. Habib said that the apex court should examine the role of police especially in the light of Wednesday’s incident.

He said the country’s Constitution faces a grave threat since the entire judicial system has come under attack by “hooligan force”.

It is now for the SC to step in, in defence of the judicial system of the country, he said.

Mr. Habib made it clear that while he was strongly opposed to some of the slogans which were raised by some fringe elements during the controversial JNU protest rally, he saw no justification for painting the entire protesting community with the brush of “anti-nationalism”.

Referring to the charge of sedition, which has been clamped against some JNU student leaders, Mr. Habib said, “The archaic law of sedition was drawn up by the British colonialists and not by Parliament of a free country. Let the people of India know that even the British rulers did not misuse this law against those millions of Indians, who were involved in freedom struggle and raised slogans against the government of the day.”

He said that “It was true that this law was used against Mahatma Gandhi in 1922 when he entered the court precincts and proudly declared, ‘I am guilty’.

“The British judge is on record to have remarked that if Mahatma Gandhi had not himself pronounced his own guilt, he would never have used this law against him,” he said.

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