Protests across India over CAA, police action against students

NEW DELHI, DEC 16 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 12/16/2019 12:49:30 PM IST

Massive protests- some peaceful, some violent- erupted across India on Monday against the police crackdown in Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi and the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act as students and political leaders took to the streets, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called these protests “deeply distressing” and appealed for peace.

Home Ministry has asked states and Union Territories (UTs) to take all possible steps to check violence and ensure safety of life and properties.

The protest spread across college campuses and institutions across India as students in thousands voiced out against police action in Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University, Lucknow.

Delhi: Thousands of students took part in the protests in Delhi against the police action on Jamia students. Students of Delhi University boycotted their examinations and held protests outside the Arts faculty in North Campus amid heavy deployment of police personnel.

At the protests at India Gate, which were mainly led by students, demonstrators read out the preamble to the Constitution on Monday evening.

Students alleged that members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) caused trouble.The Hyderabad: Students from the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, University of Hyderabad and Osmania University protested against the amended law and the police action in Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia.

Protestors at Hyderabad University called for a rollback of the amended law, and asked for stringent action against the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police. 

Uttar Pradesh: In Uttar Pradesh’s city of Lucknow, students of Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama had planned to protest against the amended Citizenship Act but were stopped by the police from stepping outside the gates of the institution. This led to demonstrators throwing stones at the police guarding the gates. There were no reported injuries in the incident. Authorities at the seminary said it will remain closed till January 5, 2020.

Students at the Banaras Hindu University staged protests at the main gate of the campus in solidarity with Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University students. Protestors carried posters, banners and shouted slogans.

Other cities: More than 100 students of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concerns over the police crackdown on students at Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University. “We stand in solidarity with students around the country protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019,” the statement reads. “We call upon you to not trample the democratic rights of citizens to peacefully protest an unjust law.”

Students from three Indian Institutes of Technology– Kanpur, Madras and Bombay– also joined the protest against police crackdown. Around 50 protestors were detained for protesting without permission outside the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Apart from students and a few faculty members of IIM-A, students of the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, and a few other institutions had taken part in the protests.

Students in states like Kolkata, Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh held protests against the police action on students.

As videos from Sunday’s violence inside Jamia circulated widely on social media, many spoke out, including from Hollywood and Bollywood.

Hollywood star John Cusack was one of those who took to Twitter to air his views. “Reports from Delhi are it was a war zone last night – Fascism is not a joke – we use the word with the understanding it’s deadly.”

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who had quit Twitter in August, returned on the microblogging site, saying he cannot stay “silent any longer”. “This government is clearly fascist… and it makes me angry to see voices that can actually make a difference stay quiet..” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, thousands gathered in the eastern city of Kolkata for a major demonstration called by state chief minister Mamata Banerjee against the citizenship law.

Life was thrown out of gear in several places in North East with trains between West Bengal and the North East came to a halt with the railways suspending all services to the northern region of the state, officials said.

Protest unites UDF, LDF

In a rare show of unity, Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) together staged a satyagraha at the Martyrs’ Square here to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act of the Modi government.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala blasted the legislation, which they said was against all that the Constitution stood for. He said Kerala was united as one against the legislation, which has pushed the entire country into a crisis.

Cong stage sit-in protest in Delhi

Congress leaders led by party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra held a dharna at the India Gate on Monday in solidarity with students protesting against the amended Act.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the two-hour protest, which began at 4 pm, is to express solidarity with students from Jamia Millia Islamia University and other places.

“The prime minister should answer what happened at the university yesterday. Whose government beat up the students?” Priyanka told reporters.

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