Citizenship Amendment Act: U.S. students, alumni ask Amit Shah to ‘curb police brutality or resign’

Expressing solidarity with students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University and the Aligarh Muslim University, they said the right to protest was “a cornerstone of a constitutional democracy

December 17, 2019 02:35 pm | Updated 08:09 pm IST - New Delhi

Demonstrators gather behind a police barricade during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and to show solidarity with the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University, in Seelampur area of Delhi.

Demonstrators gather behind a police barricade during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and to show solidarity with the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University, in Seelampur area of Delhi.

Joining the protests across campuses in India, more than 400 students and alumni from American institutions — including Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Stanford and Tufts — have expressed their solidarity with students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University and the Aligarh Muslim University who faced a police crackdown over the weekend.

The students and alumni asked Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday to take immediate steps to curb ‘police brutality or resign’, condemning the violence as a “gross violation of human rights under the Constitution of India and International Human Rights Law”, according to a statement.

Noting that the right to protest was “a cornerstone of a constitutional democracy” and was safeguarded as a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution, the statement expressed deep concern about the Chief Justice of India terming the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act as ‘riots’ and characterising this situation as simply one for the police to handle as a law and order problem.

Police attacks on university premises, i ncluding tear gas released in libraries and women students being allegedly molested on campuses, were a blatant violation of the law, said the statement. It also condemned the violence against protesters in Assam and the internet shutdown in the State.

The students and alumni demanded that police stop the violence and withdraw completely from university premises. They called for an independent investigation of the police action.

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