Mumbai

Theatre fraternity backs Jamia, AMU students

Decries police brutality while endorsing Constitutional values

More than 500 people from the Mumbai theatre fraternity have expressed support for the students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, in response to the violent measures taken by the Delhi police against the student protesters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

A strongly-worded statement, which was released today on the Indian Cultural Forum’s website, said, “The Constitution of India insists upon fundamental rights of equality, regardless of gender, caste, religion, class, community or language for all its citizens. Being a citizen of this country means being rooted in these inalienable rights.” The theatre personalities — among them Sanjna Kapoor, Ramu Ramanathan, Quasar Thakore Padamsee, Purva Naresh, Shaili Sathyu, Sameera Iyengar and Joy Sengupta — recalled the Indian Independence movement and said the CAA had destroyed the composite vision of India that guided the freedom struggle 70-odd years ago. “Through the amendments it introduces to the Citizenship Act of 1955, this Act violates every single one of the fundamental ideals of the Constitution. It is, therefore, unconstitutional in its very nature and attempts to destroy the moral, ethical and legal fabric on which this nation was founded,” the document stated.

Referring to the National Register of Citizens of India (NRC) exercise in Assam, they said it had already demonstrated the terrible divisive cost on the common man by linking citizenship to papers and detention centres and tribunals. “…the confusion of statelessness — this is what the common people, especially minorities, women, children and the poor have had to suffer, and continue to suffer.”

The creative fraternity asserted that, “The Constitution requires the government of the day to provide its people with the right to food security, equal opportunity of employment, the annihilation of discrimination based on caste, community and gender, the freedom to speak, worship, and live as our diverse people choose. What we see is an attempt to stoke fear and hatred in society, instead of addressing the critical needs of its people.”

Calling the police brutality and attacks on student protesters a strategy to silence voices and shake the foundation of what it means to be a citizen, the statement, which had 552 signatures, at last count calls upon the government to, “immediately desist from attacking students across the country, and institute an impartial enquiry into circumstances of the heinous attacks on student communities by the police forces. We stand in solidarity with the students who have bravely fought for the Constitution, the rights it enshrines upon its citizens, and its imagination of a secular, equal, and democratic nation.”

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 5:22:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/theatre-fraternity-backs-jamia-amu-students/article30333827.ece

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