Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today came out in support of three Kashmiri students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) charged with sedition for trying to hold a prayer meeting for research scholar-turned-terrorist Mannan Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces last week. She also described Wani as a "victim of relentless violence in Kashmir".
Ms Mufti, the chief of the People's Democratic Party, urged the central government to intervene and have the cases against the Kashmiri students dropped. "Pushing the youth to the wall will be counter-productive. Centre must intervene in withdrawing cases against students and AMU authorities must revoke their suspension. The respective state governments outside Jammu and Kashmir should be sensitive to the situation and prevent further alienation (of Kashmiri students)," she posted on Twitter on Monday.
"It will be a travesty to punish them for remembering their former colleague who was a victim of relentless violence in Kashmir," she wrote, referring to Wani.
The three students have also been accused by the UP police of raising "anti-India" slogans.
Other Kashmiri students at AMU organised a march on campus today to protest against the charges. They marched from the Sir Syed Gate in the university to the office of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor.
The protesters handed over a memorandum alleging that they were living in a state of constant fear. They said if the sedition charges were not withdrawn, more than 1,200 Kashmiri students would leave the campus on Wednesday after presenting their case during an alumni meet.
AMU registrar Abdul Hamid told reporters, "We have made it clear that no innocent person is going to be harassed. Any punitive action would be taken only after we receive the report of a three-member enquiry committee headed by AMU proctor Prof Mohsin Khan."
Mannan Wani, 27, was studying for a doctorate in Geology at the university when he quit and joined the terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen in January. He was killed in an encounter in Handwara in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on Thursday.
With inputs from PTI
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