The Case Of AMU: Is It Justified To Expel A Student For A Facebook Comment?

Posted on September 30, 2016 in Campus Watch, Politics

By Mirza Wardah Beg:

The last time we saw this movie, the ‘heroes’ (or ‘villains’) were Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid. This time, the same script is being repeated, except only with a few differences. The difference is, this story, though incomplete yet, doesn’t seem like it’ll have a happy ending.

Mudasir Yousuf, a student pursuing MSc in Organic Chemistry from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), was charged with a case of ‘hate speech’, and expelled from the varsity on September 19 for posting an offensive comment against the Army, after the recent Uri attacks. In his comment, Mudasir stated his opinion about the attacks but when enquired later by the authorities, he claimed to have written it in a ‘flow of emotions’ and pleaded for an apology from the Vice Chancellor.

The students of AMU are currently occupied with demanding their democratic right to conduct the student union elections, and rightly so. It is only them who can really bring justice to Yousuf, only if his issue was prioritised. By speaking of bringing justice to Yousuf, I definitely don’t mean that his comment was justified, it can be seen as ‘anti-national’ (according to how many understand it today).

In the case of the JNU controversy, the high court did not ask for the rustication of any of the primary faces of the revolt. In fact, it stopped JNU from rusticating these students. The students were allowed to continue their studies at the institution and roam about, freely in the campus. No student was permanently debarred from the university.

Another controversy after the AMU issue, which erupted was whether or not there was any external pressure on the university to take action of this nature against the student. However a recent statement by the university refuted any such thing and said that there was no ‘ulterior motive’ behind expelling him and that there was no ‘external pressure’ on the university.

But in contrast, it was reported that Aligarh’s MP from BJP, Satish Gautam, had taken ‘serious note’ of the Facebook post and had written to the VC demanding stringent action against the student. He had also written to the police demanding the registration of an FIR against Yousuf. Is a letter and an FIR appeal from an MP not ‘external pressure’ to the university? It had been confirmed that Yousuf had been booked under IPC Section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) that carries an imprisonment of up to three years.

Somehow, the media got it wrong that Mudasir had written a Facebook ‘post’, while it actually was a comment on another post, as can be seen from the screenshot above.

Furthermore, in the JNU row, the Afzal Guru event was held on campus, thus the university had the right to take action against its students. While in the case of Mudasir, there was no relation of his post to the university and was merely a social media comment. Mudasir’s apology letter should be accepted by the university and he should be given a chance to continue his studies.

The worst thing one can do to a student is to destroy his career. Yousuf was a post-graduate student of the university and by expelling him, his career has been destroyed.

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