Forty years ago, May 15, 1979: Aligarh simmers
The curfew which was imposed on May 10, was further relaxed in various parts of Aligarh. The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tusher Dutt, said that a three-hour relaxation was allowed in the Civil Lines area where the university is located. Dutt went round the city to take stock of the situation. He said over 300 persons had been arrested since the violence on May 10 and added the police were keeping a constant vigil and all efforts were being made to check the activities of anti-social elements. Commenting on reports that the PAC men had allegedly indulged in looting shops, the DIG said that he had looked into the allegations and found that the reports were without any basis. “We will take strict action if any specific instance is brought to our notice,” he said.
The orgy of arson and violence which swept the areas surrounding Aligarh Muslim University on the night of May 10-11 brought to the fore the cumulative weakness of the university administration. No serious effort seemed to have been made by the university authorities to mollify the highly-agitated students returning from the Delhi rally of May 9 with bitter memories of the Dadri incident. In the absence of the Students’ Union president, Musthaq Ahmed Khun, who was in Delhi on that fateful night, there was no sober student leader on the campus to control the students. All of them were leaders unto themselves.
The Punjab government announced better salaries and allowances for its constabulary as the seven-day-old unrest among the policemen resulted in a total of 200 arrests and summary dismissal of 125. A constable now getting total emoluments of Rs 427 per month, inclusive of all benefits like house rent, kit allowance, etc, has been granted a hike of Rs 100 per month. His starting salary, inclusive of benefits, will now go up to Rs 527 per month with effect from January 1, 1978. Announcing the government decision after an emergency meeting of the state cabinet, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, told newsmen that the new package of benefits for policemen also included better chances of promotions.