AMU students demand union, launch ‘indefinite strike’

Students put up posters demanding elections for the students's union. | TCN Photo @irfaninbox

Students at AMU have been demanding to conduct the elections for the students’ union for over 6 months. The last elections to the union were held in 2019.

Huneza Khan | 

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ALIGARH (UTTAR PRADESH) — Scores of students at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Uttar Pradesh are on an indefinite strike since last week demanding the university administration conduct student’s union election. 

On January 12, the students gave a memorandum of ultimatum to the AMU administration for appointing Election Officer and announcing the election schedule within 24 hrs. 

Having received no responses, the students launched an indefinite strike and blocked the AMU main gate (Baab E Syed) on January 13. 

The student union elections at AMU are conducted under the guidance of the Lyngdoh committee which directs the Vice Chancellor to hold the elections within 6-8 weeks of the university reopening. The last elections to the union were held in 2019.

Students have been demanding to conduct the elections for over 6 months. 

Misbah Qaiser, an undergraduate student at AMU who was part of the protest, told that since May 2022 students have given at least 6 memorandums for elections to the Vice Chancellor. 

The final memorandum was submitted to the administration on January 12. “We began an indefinite strike after getting no response from the administration,” he said.

Qaiser said that they [students] met with the Registrar who cited lack of funds for the delay in holding elections to the students’ union.  

“We asked him to oversee the elections so that the administration and student’s union could work together and fight effectively. The Registrar ultimately offered us personal support only,” Qaiser said. 

Commenting on the claims made by the students, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Proctor Mohd. Wasim Ali in conversation with said that the administration is giving preference to bringing academic activities on track which have been disturbed since the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Students taking out a protest demanding student’s union. | Picture by arrangement

“The Vice-Chancellor wants to restore the academic calendar first. We opened the university in phases and we will gradually restore the rights and privileges. The priority of every academic institution is admission and examination. We are neither running away nor blatantly derecognizing student rights. We will hold elections once the examination and admission are on time,” Proctor said. 

Procter further said that the current academic year will conclude in two months. “So, we don’t want academics to be disturbed due to elections. We are trying to convince the students,” he added. 

Qaiser said that the elections will not disturb the studies. “In fact, more students attend classes during elections. If a student body is formed it will talk about students’ issues but the Vice-Chancellor doesn’t care about it,” he said. 

Qaiser questioned the delay in holding student’s union elections “as there will be questions over the usage of funds if a student union is formed.” 

Students at the university claim that they are facing several problems due to the absence of the students’ union. 

“The Vice Chancellor had ensured us frequent meetings but we have not seen him for more than a year,” said a student.

The university is peaceful, according to proctor Waseem Ali, and classes are held regularly. 

“Only a few students are protesting and we are constantly communicating with them. If the elections had been important, all students would have been protesting,” the proctor added. 

The protesting students said that they are not missing any classes. 

“Students are attending the classes as well. We are not always in protest. We will keep braving the cold until the Vice Chancellor agrees to our demands. If not, we will go on a hunger strike,” said Qaiser. 

Huneza Khan is a journalist from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. She tweets