Hundreds gather outside MU to voice dissent

Published - December 17, 2019 01:27 am IST - Mumbai

We can’t accept it:  Protesters outside Mumbai University’s Kalina campus raising voice against the police atrocities on students of Jamia Milia Islamia and AMU.

We can’t accept it: Protesters outside Mumbai University’s Kalina campus raising voice against the police atrocities on students of Jamia Milia Islamia and AMU.

Over 200 people responded with thunderous applause to the lines — Kehte hain maalik chor hai, munafakhor hai, aag useene lagayi hai kyonki woh aadamkhor hai — recited by actor Sushant Singh Rajput as he stood outside the main gate of Mumbai University’s Kalina campus on Monday. The protesters had gathered to express solidarity with the students of Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), who were beaten up by the police for protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on Sunday.

The lines, which mean, “It is said that the owner is a thief, a capitalist, and that he started the fire because he preys on humans,” were written by Mr. Rajput after the fire at Anaj Mandi in Delhi. The poem is a tribute to the deceased labourer Musharraf, whose last call was to his friend Shobhit, in which he entrusted him with responsibility of his family.

The protest was announced on Sunday night by a coalition of organisations like the Social Democratic Party of India and the Students Islamic Organisation. Tushar Gandhi, former member of the Socialist Party, and great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, who also participated, called out the CAA for being discriminatory.

“I oppose the CAB and the National Register for Citizens. It looks like one is made to feel they do not belong to their home after residing in it for ages. It is the ruling party’s prejudice which collectively shows in the disheartening police brutality on the students of Jamia. I am here in full solidarity with people voicing their opinions. Nobody should be silenced,” he said.

The outrage against the government’s handling of the situation has also been trending on social media platforms.

Aney Deshpande, a filmmaking student, said, “I have been using hashtags and keeping tabs on all the trends but being present in a protest and voicing your opinion is more impactful than virtual social activism. When your right to protest is being challenged by authority, one feels the most powerless as a human being.”

Another protester, Sunil Kumar, said, “I am here to voice my opposition to the police action that led to firing tear gas canons, and lathicharge on students, and that too in a place where they should feel the most secure in. What many do not know is there are infiltrators in protest groups as well, who leak out information to any oppressive authority.”

Najeeb Ur Rahman, a former Delhi University student, said he was in a state of shock both as a former student and a Muslim citizen. “This is an echo of Nazi Germany, only sadder because it seems the ruling party has learnt nothing from history. The implementation of the Act in the name of secularism is ironic because its final goal is to declare India as a Hindu-nationalist State. The Act makes it easier to believe that Islamophobia is real and Muslims are second class citizens.”

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