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AMU Bihar Dharna! Media reports, political statements misled the nation

Tuesday October 18, 2011 05:24:09 PM, Mohammad Mudassir Alam

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A Modern Aligarh Movement starts from Kishanganj

Sir Syed Ahman Khan – renowned as the educationist, journalist and founder of the legendry Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, had launched a historic ‘Aligarh Movement’ to establish the magnum opus university currently having around 30,000 enrolled students across dozens of faculties. Presently the Aligarh Muslim University is offering education from school  »

Situated in the north-eastern part of Bihar, the district of Kishanganj hit the headlines of national media this past week mainly for rail (Guwahati – New Delhi route) and road (NH 31) blockage. No need to explain the issue, because the media tried to portray in their own ways without caring much about facts. Actually the people of Kishanganj, Katihar, Araria, Purnia, Saharsa, Khagaria, and other parts of Bihar including neighbouring Uttar Dinajpur (West Bengal) had joined the grand dharna called by Kishanganj MP Maulana Asrarul Haque under the banner of Kishanganj Education Movement for AMU Special Centre in Kishanganj. Other political leaders to join the dharna were NCP leader Tarique Anwar, RJD MLA Akhtarul Iman, Congress MLA Dr. Jawed Azad, Congress MLA Touseef Alam, Congress MP Deepa Das Munshi, TMC MLA Abdul Karim Choudhury, Forward Bloc MLA Ali Imran Ramz and Gholam Rabbani.


The issue was clear the unnecessarily delay made by the Nitish led Bihar Government to provide the required 250 acres contiguous piece of land to AMU (Aligarh Muslim University) VC for establishing a Special Centre of the university. AMU VC had sent the proposal to Bihar Government for opening Special Centre two years back after getting the approval from Union Ministry of HRD and President of India. Bihar Government had offered 243 acres of land in three pieces at Chakla Village adjacent to Kishanganj district headquarters in March 2010, which was not accepted by AMU VC after his visit to the proposed site on May 22, 2010. Since then, apart from making baseless allegations against the AMU VC and the proposal of Study Centre, the Bihar Government has not taken any step to resolve the issue and offer the land as per norms of Aligarh Muslim University.


The world know very well Bihar is one of the least literate states of India and the percentage is worst in Seemanchal area of the state. People of the educationally and economically deprived area of Seemanchal had seen the new ray of development in AMU Special Centre Kishanganj. The people of the area had become frustrated with the uncertain delay made by the Bihar government and decided to do a protest under the leadership of local leaders. On October 12, 2011, more than 2 lakh common people including political leaders, activists and journalists gathered at Kishanganj to participate in the grand dharna and block the rail and road in frustration.


The dharna went for whole day, and after 10 PM the issue got notice from national media due to blockage of Guwahati- New Delhi route. The news was flashed in almost all the leading news channels of India highlighting the stoppage of trains like Rajdhani at various stations on the route. Reason was the demand for the ‘AMU Special Centre land’ from the Bihar Government. However, the national media presented in their own ways. 


Let me begin with NDTV,  one of country’s most authentic news channel in publishes the report with heading “Students block railway tracks, 18 trains held up in Bihar” (URL of report: The heading somehow provides a tiny idea about the incident, but the report inside is really misleading. The report says that the “students affiliated to the All Islamic Students Union blocked railway tracks in Bihar’s Kishanganj district”. The statement within quote is false and totally misleading no such student outfit has called the dharna or participated in any form for the cause.


Next, Zee News – a leading news channel of the country flashed the news at around 11 pm on October 12, 2011. The anchor of the news channel has contacted its reporter Brajesh Mishra to know the ground realities. The reporter of Zee News answered the queries of news anchor irresponsibly and said that the dharna is called by the political parties for the ‘Muslim Vote Bank’ issue. In fact, he tried to misguide the people across the world by saying that local people are not happy with the dharna and doing agitation against Congress and RJD. He had not added a single line about the real issue and demand of agitators, and the anchor summed up it by saying it ‘Muslim Vote Bank’ issue. In truth the locals were always supporting the movement and all kept their shops closed for the entire day. The report of Zee News is available on this link:


The dharna was called off midnight after the assurance of Puria Division Commissioner Brajesh Mishra to resolve the land transfer issue within a month. However, the response of leading political party’s leaders on the dharna for AMU Centre Kishanganj is not encouraging. Nitish Kumar slammed his main opposition RJD and also the political leaders from neighbouring West Bengal state for joining the dharna. In fact, he warned the political parties not to take the mileage of the issue and said he himself wish to see AMU Centre in Kishanganj.


As many political leaders from Bihar and Uttar Dinajpur (West Bengal) actively participated in the dharna, so Nitish Kumar has the right to speak against them. However, the statement of Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi published in Azad Hind Newspaper (Kolkata, October 15, 2011) about the dharna is very sad and biased as well. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP said the dharna happened at Kishanganj for AMU Centre is like a ‘Terrorist Act’. I will write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take strong action against the agitators and also request to frame tough rule to discourage the acts like rail blockage. There is nothing wrong in framing tough rules in the interest of train passengers who suffer the most, but justifying a dharna in demand for educational institute as a ‘Terrorist Act’ is woeful and deserves criticism. In fact, the railway minister should apologize for giving irresponsible statement with the use of terrifying works that take the attention of common people away from the real cause.


The country still reminds the dozens of dharns and bandhs done by Trinamool Congress in West Bengal before coming to power. The rail and road routes also got badly affected due to closure (bandhs) called by Mamata Banerjee many times, the party also played an important role to cause chaos in Singur and Nandigram. The repeated bandhs called in support of creating a separate Telangana state had badly affected the normal life many times. What remarks Trivedi would give about the acts done by his party workers in past and the Congress MP’s recent three day rail rook andolan in Telangana. Are they not terrorizing act?


Now the question, why a movement actively participated by people from all corners of Bihar was presented in misleading way by the national media and politicians? The issue is related to the establishment of AMU Special Centre in Kishanganj, which will open the windows of opportunities for all sections of the society. Referring the issue as a Muslim Vote Bank or a Terrorizing Act is very unfortunate and it create bad impression about the real cause in the mind of people residing across the nation. Such News Channels and Politicians especially Dinesh Trivedi must apologize in the interest of nation and its people.







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Girl students of a local school displaying the post cards posted to the AMU VC appealing him to speed up the process for the establishment of AMU centre in Malegaon




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