Aligarh (UP), Jan 30 (PTI) Protests at Aligarh Muslim University's women college against the new citizenship law intensified on Thursday with hundreds of students blocking its entry points, as the exam boycott at the AMU's engineering college continued for the fourth successive day.
The protesters, including schoolgirls, locked the gates from inside and formed a human chain to prevent teaching staff from entering the campus on Marris Road.
A university official said police had been posted at the college gates as a precautionary measure. He added, 'While a section of the girls are ready to end the deadlock and resume attending classes, some others are still refusing.' Later Thursday, Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor tried to reassure students in a video appeal that all their issues from now on will be dealt without involving any 'external agency'.
Students had been concerned that the university could once again call the police force into the campus to quell their protest against the amended citizenship law, as done on December 15.
The students wanted the VC to assure them that all 'false cases' registered against their colleagues during the past six weeks would be withdrawn and there will be 'no further police action or harassment' against them for protesting peacefully.
In the video message, the vice chancellor said he 'deeply regretted' the incidents on December 15 and the booking of students by police. 'I want to assure students I will take up these matters with police and no innocent student will be framed.' The VC said peaceful dissent 'is the right of every student' and every educational institution can debate any issue which disturbs the student community. He said the university administration was empowering the proctorial team, members of the teaching community and pro-proctors to tackle all situations pertaining to law and order issues within the campus.
However, the boycott of examinations at the varsity's Zakir Husain College of Engineering and Technology continued for the fourth consecutive day.
AMU spokesman Omar Peerzada said some classes were held for the first time to end the impasse after Prof Sufiyan Beg, principal of the engineering college, assured the students that their demands raised during Wednesday's meeting with the VC would be considered favourably.
'Talks are underway with the protesters to resolve the situation,' the spokesman said, appearing optimist that the problems would be resolved soon.
Faculty of Social Sciences Dean Akbar Husain, who was holding talks with the students, said the VC has assured the students in writing that no students would be detained for protesting peacefully within the campus. He also listed some other demands of the students, including action against those who attacked their colleagues during the Republic Day function at Strachey Hall.
After meeting the VC this evening and holding discussion with the students, Hussain said he was 'very optimistic' that protests would end and academic activities would resume from Friday.
But the AMU Students Coordination Committee announced that they will not vacate the campus till their demands are met even if the university authorities shut down the varsity.
Meanwhile, the AMU Alumni Association in the United Arab Emirates has in a letter to the vice chancellor expressed serious concern over the possibility of a 'sine die' closure of the varsity and offered to serve as interlocutors to find a solution to end the protests.
On Wednesday night, the deadlock at AMU appeared to have worsened when the talks between the VC and the students were inconclusive.
Elsewhere in the city, at Eidgah, hundreds of women began an indefinite dharna against the law. Police on Thursday booked 250 of them for unlawful assembly and named nine of them in the FIR.
The women were charged under IPC sections 145, 147 and 188, SP City Abhishek Kumar said. Section 145 relates to unlawful assembly, 147 to rioting and 188 to disobedience to order issued by a public servant. PTI CORR SAB ABH ABH