New Delhi: A student of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was arrested and booked for sedition and attempt to murder Thursday in connection with anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, which took place in the university last December.
AMU students Farhan Zuberi and Ravish Ali Khan, both 22 years old, were on their way to pick up a friend stuck in lockdown when their car was stopped by the police near Mandrak, around 12 kilometres from Aligarh city.
They were then taken to the Mandrak police station, where Khan was let off in a couple of hours, but Zuberi was arrested.
An FIR was filed against Zuberi with as many as 11 charges pressed against him. The charges include IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 124 A (sedition), among others, police said.
“He was booked under 11 charges, and of these, he has been sent into judicial custody in seven,” Abhishek Singh, superintendent of police (city), Aligarh, told ThePrint.
Singh, however, didn’t clarify what these seven charges were.
Zuberi is a final-year Masters student in social work.
First arrest over CAA stir in AMU
On 15 December last year, violence broke out during the anti-CAA protests in AMU and a case was subsequently registered against 1,000 unidentified students of the university.
The clashes had erupted after rumours of two Jamia Millia Islamia students having been shot by the police began doing the rounds. Students of the university allegedly pelted the police with stones, following which the police were accused of resorting to lathi-charge and tear gas against the students.
“He has been booked with an attempt to murder charge because the stone-pelting suffered by the police was quite heavy,” SP Singh said.
As many as 26 people, including seven AMU students, were arrested in December, following the clashes, but were soon let off on bail. Since then, this is the first arrest in the case.
Crackdown on students
Students at the AMU, meanwhile, have expressed their surprise over the “sudden arrest during a lockdown”.
“Both of us are active members of the AMU coordination committee. Farhan is a former cabinet member of the student union as well,” Khan told ThePrint.
Khan, who has done his Bachelors in social work from AMU, said he has known Zuberi for many years.
“These protests took place back in December, but the police have suddenly arrested him and slapped serious charges against him like murder at the time of a lockdown. But I have faith, the judiciary will come to his rescue,” he added.
When ThePrint reached AMU proctor Wasim Ali, he said: “AMU hasn’t officially been contacted in regard to the arrest. If the police approach us, we will cooperate.”
Several districts of Uttar Pradesh were struck by violence in the aftermath of the anti-CAA protests in December, with as many as 19 deaths reported. The police were accused of being involved in many of these killings.
Zuberi’s arrest is one of the several made during the lockdown in connection with the anti-CAA protests. Four Jamia students have also been arrested since the Covid lockdown came into effect in March.