Students gear up against the Citizenship Act

Students raise voice against ‘repression’ of protesters in New Delhi

A demonstration against the amended Citizenship Act, at Town Hall, on Monday.

A demonstration against the amended Citizenship Act, at Town Hall, on Monday.   | Photo Credit: TH

Silent protest in Indian Institute of Science; IIMB students write to PM

Expressing anger and anguish over not just the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, but also the violence against protesting students in New Delhi, students and members of the academic fraternity in Bengaluru held protests and demonstrations on Monday.

A group of students from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru staged a silent protest against the Act, and the police response to students at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) in Delhi. “The Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) goes against the secular identity of the country. It is unconstitutional,” said one protester.

Students held placards with messages ranging from ‘We want democracy, not police Raj,’ and ‘Defend the right to protest’. However, in keeping with the nature of the protest, they did not chant slogans. Many also declined to talk to the media citing that it is against IISc.’s Code of Conduct.

A retired scientist, who took part in the protest, said, “NRC itself is a wrong exercise. The procedure to prove our citizenship requires a certain number of documents, but people relocate to other States for various reasons like natural calamities. The government cannot expect these people to save all these documents when they were striving to save their lives.”

Many expressed concern over the ‘rapid’ and ‘brutal’ attacks on protesters at educational institutes such as JMI in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh. “We are not terrorists. We have the right to protest against the government. What the police did was not acceptable,” said one student after the protest.

AIDSO protest

All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) organised a protest in front of Town Hall against the police firing on protesting students in the JMI campus. “The students of Jamia Milia Islamia have time and again declared their resolve to continue the movement peacefully, undauntedly. On the pretext of violence by some fringe elements, the police barged into the campus and fired on protesting students. It has lead to serious casualties. Many suffered bullet injuries and are being taken to hospital. This marks a black day in the history of student movements,” said an AIDSO statement.

The AIDSO urged the government to cease the ‘brutal attacks’ on protesting students and demanded arrest of the fringe elements as well as action against police personnel responsible for the attack.

Open letter to PM

Students and faculty members of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) have written an open letter to the Prime Minister about the repression of students protesting against the Act.

As many as 172 students, staff and faculty members have signed the letter and have expressed solidarity with students around the country protesting against the Act.

In the letter, a copy of which is with The Hindu, they have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to “trample the democratic rights of citizens to peacefully protest an unjust law.”

The letter further stated, “Non-violent civil disobedience is at the heart of our republic's founding. We urge you to ensure that students can protest peacefully, and that violence is not incited by anyone, including custodians of State in positions of great authority and responsibility.”

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:10:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/students-raise-voice-against-repression-of-protesters-in-new-delhi/article30326283.ece

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