Colleges, university remain shut against CAA

Colleges, university remain shut against CAA
(L) St. Joseph’s college students protest in front of Raj Bhavan. (R) Students holding placards in Dimapur during the shutdown. (NP)
Correspondent/Staff Reporter DIMAPUR/KOHIMA, JAN 22 (NPN) | Publish Date: 1/22/2020 12:21:49 PM IST

Along with other North Eastern States, colleges and universities across Nagaland remain closed on Wednesday in response to the call of All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU) for a total shutdown against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The entire programme passed of peacefully without report of any untoward incident anywhere.

Over a thousand students from St Joseph’s College, Jakhama gathered outside Raj Bhavan at Kohima to protest against CAA, which was spearheaded by Students’ Council, the apex student body of the college. The students first gathered outside Kohima Law College and marched towards Raj Bhavan. However, the rally had to be shortly called off by the district administration as the student body failed to obtain prior permission from the authority concerned to hold the protest.

Speaking to media persons after the protest was called off, Students’ Council president Chumtiba S Sangtam said “We organised this peaceful rally because we are strongly against CAA. It is injustice. It is against the constitution and is religious injustice”. He alleged that the Act would only protect people from outside and suggested that it must protect the nation. 

“If the government does not follow the constitution, we must not follow the government. If the government is not for the people, the people should not support the government,” he declared, adding that Inner Line Permit (ILP) was not strong enough to protect Nagaland from CAA.

Ghuvika Yeptho, a sixth semester student, told reporters, “We have a small railway line in Nagaland, but there are already so many illegal immigrants coming in.” Stating that the State could not be a dumping ground for illegal immigrants, he said “Slowly, our identity and our culture will be at stake and one day we might lose everything. And I know that I am standing for the right cause.”

Later speaking to Nagaland Post, ANCSU president Vimeyiekho Vitso claimed the response to the call for total shutdown of colleges across the State was received with an “overwhelming and positive response”, including theological colleges and other colleges that were not affiliated to the union. 

He said the future course of action would depend on Supreme Court hearing, adding the union would tie up with Naga Students’ Federation and North East Student’s Organisation in this regard.     

Reacting to Union home minister Amit Shah’s statement that despite protest the Act would not be scrapped, Vitso said “We are left clueless because when our leaders are not listening to the voices of people, then we have no one to refer to. But despite such statement, we will still fight against the Act which is unconstitutional.”

He claimed that despite the claims made by political leaders that Nagaland was exempted from the purview of CAA, the Act would hamper the future of Nagas.

Citing abrogation of Article 370, the ANCSU president said Article 371(A) too was not safe. “Although we are under the ambit of ILP, it does not ensure total safety for the citizens of the State,” he remarked and pointed out to the lack of proper ILP implementation.

Reacting to higher and technical education minister Temjen Imna Along’s support of CAA, Vitso said “It is very unfortunate that a minister of the State was not representing the aspirations of youth and students.” He said the minister might have been compelled to follow the directives from the Centre.

Meanwhile, expressing support to and solidarity with North Eastern University Student Fraternity’s call for a total shutdown, colleges and university students under the banner of Dimapur Naga Students’ Union (DNSU) too observed a shutdown on Wednesday. 

Interacting with Nagaland Post, DNSU members said they inspected 15 colleges and one university under their jurisdiction in the early hours and found that their directive was carried out peacefully.

Simultaneously, Global Open University Nagaland (GOUN) students participated at a sit-in protest against CAA and raised slogans and displayed placards demanding withdrawal of CAA inside their campus. Some of the placards read “We are not going to be convinced by CAA”, “NE United against CAA”, “Modified Modi Shah trying to modify original India”, “When injustice becomes law, RESISTANCE becomes duty”, etc.

Asserting that CAA not only infringed on basic structures of the constitution, DNSU president Sedevilie Angami asserted that it posed a serious threat to the very existence of indigenous people of the Northeast. 

He claimed that the shutdown was not enforced as the student body had only issued an appeal, which college and university students had enthusiastically responded to. 

NURSF observe shutdown: In response to the total shutdown call, Nagaland University Research Scholars’ Forum (NURSF) also observed complete shutdown by ceasing normal functioning of Nagaland University, Lumami Campus.

Scholars in the campus took part in the protest and expressed their resentment and displeasure against the CAA. This was stated in a press release by NURSF.

ANCSU acknowledges: ANCSU has acknowledged all colleges and Nagaland Theological Colleges’ Association for having participated in the protest against CAA by shutting down the colleges as per its appeal. 

In a statement, ANCSU general secretary Imnameren N Jamir said the response of the colleges was overwhelming, adding the coming together of universities and colleges had reflected voice of the North Eastern masses against CAA. 

He declared that ANCSU would continue to represent the aspirations of the students and be their voice, adding that the union would strongly support movements against the contentious Act in the days to come. 

Jamir explained that ANCSU had called for a total shutdown of all colleges in Nagaland in solidarity with rest of the North-eastern universities and colleges to oppose CAA.



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