Student protests sweep campuses across country over police action at Delhi’s Jamia
The thread of solidarity ran from Panjab University in Chandigarh to the Central University of Kerala in Kasaragod, from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad to Jadavpur University in Kolkata.
Students boycotted classes, shouted slogans and hit the streets on Monday in an unprecedented show of unity against alleged police crackdown at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
The thread of solidarity ran from Panjab University in Chandigarh to the Central University of Kerala in Kasaragod, from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad to Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Here’s a look at what happened in campuses:
Students at Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama (Nadwa college) allegedly resorted to stone pelting and sloganeering while protesting against the police action at JMI and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Officials said the Nadwa college was closed till January 5 and students asked to evacuate the campus. A protest was also staged by some students of Integral University in the city. “When students were asked to go inside the college in the morning (Monday), some of them resorted to stone pelting. The police force was already on alert and we contained the situation by pushing them inside the campus,” said inspector general (IG) of police Lucknow range SK Bhagat.
There were angry demonstrations on the Banaras Hindu University campus with demands that the government take action against police “hooliganism”. “We strongly condemn the beating of students by Delhi police. We are with the students of JNU and AMU in their protest against the CAA, which is against the spirit of the Constitution,” said Vandana, a student.
The Allahabad University administration postponed all semester examinations scheduled for the day and suspended classes.
The three campuses of Jadavpur University, Calcutta University, Presidency University, often called the hotbed of numerous student movements, saw protests. “How could police enter the Jamia Millia University without permission from the vice-chancellor? This is atrocious,” said Udayan Bandopadhyay, a professor. The West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association (WBCUTA) condemned the violence at JMI and AMU “We also appeal to the central government to identify those police personnel involved in attacking the innocent students and take appropriate action against them,” said Kesab Bhattacharya, general secretary, WBCUTA.
Students associated with eight student organisations led by the Left-leaning Students For Society (SFS) held a protest in Panjab University. They shouted anti-government slogans and called for the roll back of the new law.
“The CAA is a step towards making Indian state a Hindu rashtra,” said Jujhar Singh.
Some students at IIT-Bombay’s Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle termed the JMI incident as brutal attack on students’ right to protest. On Monday, around 100 students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences marched from the institute’s Deonar campus to Ambedkar Garden in Chembur. “There is unrest among students,” said Yashwant Zagade, a research scholar. “There is a lot of discontent among students. Student organisations from across all institutes are coming together to express our dissent,” said Sachin Bansode, a student at the University of Mumbai.
At the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, about 1,500 students staged a protest demanding revocation of the CAA and expressing solidarity with students in AMU and JMI. Students also boycotted semester exams.
“The CAA and NRC are aimed at dividing the country on religious lines, as they discriminate against Muslims. They are against the principles of Indian Constitution,” says MANUU students’ union president Shaik Umar Faruq Quadri.
Student groups from Savitribai Phule Pune University protested in the university campus in the evening. “There is lot of anger among the students and this will be seen in today’s protests,” said Kamlakar Shete, Pune city vice-president of Yuvak Kranti Dal, a student organisation.
Mohammed Sathak College of Arts and Science in Sholinganallur and Chennai’s Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development and IIT Madras saw protests.
Peaceful protest marches were taken out at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) in Kochi and the Central University of Kerala in Kasaragod. Student leaders said dividing people on the basis of their religion is wrong.
“We were shocked to see images of police crackdown,” said K P Kiran, a student leader from Cusat.
Students of Pondicherry University marched on campus.
Students and faculty members released a statement protesting the alleged police action in JMI and AMU. “We the undersigned members of IIM-Bangalore stand in solidarity with students around the country protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. We call upon you to not trample the democratic rights of citizens to peacefully protest an unjust law. Non-violent civil disobedience is at the heart of our republic’s founding,” a statement signed by 170 members, read.