An FIR has been registered against 5 AMU students under section 295 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 67 of the IT Act for sharing a ‘blasphemous post’ on Facebook which hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslim community at the Aligarh Muslim University. The post consisted of a photo with a caption that distorted an Islamic slogan which allegedly showed the accused partaking in alcohol consumption.
The students involved have also been served a lifetime ban from entering the Cultural Education Center in the campus and taking part in any activity. They have also allegedly received death threats as a consequence of the outrage caused by the Facebook post.
The FIR was registered after the offended students approached the Police over the matter. AMU Students Union President, Mashkoor Ahmad Usmani, said, “Strict action should be taken against whosoever is responsible for it.” Four of the five accused are former students who still frequented the campus while one of them is currently studying at the University.
One student has offered an unconditional apology over the incident and asserted that it wasn’t his intention to hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community.
Those offended have ruled out any possibility of forgiving them claiming that they do not have any authority to issue any pardon. It has also been alleged that the accused have mocked other religions in the past as well.
As per reports, fearing for their lives, the accused fled Aligarh soon after and deactivated their Facebook accounts. The accused are self-proclaimed ‘rationalists’ and ‘atheists’ who have been critical of Hindutva in the past and have allegedly mocked Hinduism and other religions as well. However, they did not have to face death threats or legal action and flee their homes because of the same.
AMU has recently been in another controversy over a Jinnah’s portrait which was hung in the Students Union Hall after a BJP MP demanded the removal of it and sought clarification from the University administration. Clashes also erupted between right-wing organizations who were demanding the removal of the portrait and students who opposed them. The AMU has a history of Islamic fundamentalism and it appears that even after all these years, very little has changed at the University. The liberals and the secularists are conspicuously silent over the whole incident and freedom of expression does not appear to be under threat thus far. We are to believe from the silence of liberals that such incidents are not accurate representations of fascism as well.