New Delhi: Nearly 1200 Kashmiri students studying at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have threatened to quit the varsity en masse  on October 17, if the sedition charges issued against three of them for allegedly raising ‘anti-India’ slogans and holding a prayer meeting for former scholar-turned-Hizbul terrorist Mannan Wani were not withdrawn. Twenty seven-year-old Wani, pursing a PhD course in Allied Geology at the AMU, had quit the university and joined militant ranks in January this year. He was killed in an encounter at Shatgund village in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on October 11.

“If this vilification does not stop, more than 1,200 Kashmiri students will leave for their homes in the Kashmir Valley on October 17 as a last option,”AMU students union former vice-president Sajjad Rathar said in a letter to AMU vice-chancellor. Rathar also termed the sedition charges a ‘vendetta’.  “The option of holding Namaaz-e-Janaza (prayer meeting) in absentia was dropped after the AMU authorities did not give the permission. If no prayer meeting was held as confirmed by all official agencies, the slapping a case of sedition against three Kashmiri students is simply a vendetta, harassment and denial of justice,” he added.

On Saturday night, the letter was handed over to AMU Proctor Mohsin Khan in presence of large number of Kashmiri students at his office.

However, AMU spokesperson Shafay Kidwai, dismissed allegations of Kashmiri students and assured that “no innocent would be framed”. Prof Kidwai also made it clear that “there is zero tolerance for any anti-national activity on AMU campus”.

Aligarh’s Senior Superintendent of Police Ajai Sahni said police took the action (on October 12) against the three students after a video surfaced, showing the them raising “anti-India” slogans.  “Police have filed an FIR against Wasim Malik, Abdul Mir and one unnamed person. They have been identified on the basis of a video recording,” he added.

BJP lawmaker from Aligarh, Satish Gautam has also demanded action against those who tried to hold a prayer meeting for Wani inside the AMU campus.

Earlier in the day,  Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, an MLA from north Kashmir’s Langate constituency, took out a protest march in ‘solidarity’ with Kashmiri students of the AMU who were booked on sedition charges. He claimed that the protestors were shouting slogans in favour of the students of the AMU ‘who are being harassed constantly for offering in absentia funeral prayers of Hizb commander Manan Wani’.

The MLA said Kashmiri students ‘are being targeted only for the reason that they are Kashmiris and being a Kashmiri has become a crime in India’.

(With inputs from agencies)