Despite intermittent rain and drizzle, student fraternity stood rock solid to give momentum to mass awareness programme regarding the much talked about dubitable act.
On Thursday, 16 January 2020, resistance against the contentious laws of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), and National Population Register (NPR) was conducted by ‘Gandhi Calling Organization’ in association with Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU), and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), at Arts Faculty, North Campus, University of Delhi (DU).
The mass movement witnessed some key figures such as social activist Medha Patkar, Tushar Gandhi, lawyer Karuna Nundy, Justice Kolse Patil, and Journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani among others. The president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), Aishi Ghosh was also expected but she didn’t make it to the programme.
A nukkad natak by the hausala group of school going students kick-started the event with the central message of ‘echoing the dissent in a democracy.’
Amidst the intermittent rains, the awareness programme got delayed by an hour and faced some difficulties in operation but the perseverance with which the protestors and the speakers stood, made the event a successful one.
‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ anchor, Medha Patkar spoke firmly about her differences from the Act and hinted towards having a source (whose identity shall remain undisclosed), about the fact that internal debates are happening inside the ruling party about NRC and there might be a silver lining to it.
Lawyer Karuna Nundy, who once worked with the victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, broke down the legal aspect of the Act and while talking about the loopholes, said, “the males, urban, and savarnas will have a much greater chance of having documents contrary to the females, village dwellers, bahujan, aadivasi, etc.” She also talked about the correlation with what she said,” ‘Hindutva supremacist philosophy’ and ‘toxic masculinity and patriarchy.’ ” She concluded by reciting the preamble of the Constitution of India.
Tushar Gandhi outrightly called out the government for distortion of history and manipulation. He said, “we will never be enslaved again and must have our heads held high.”
Justice Kolse Patil stood in the drizzle whilst appreciating the youth mobilisation and talked about the importance of education and student movements.
Journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani majorly emphasised about the role of women in the protests and saluted the ones in Shaheen Bagh who took to the streets for their rights. She also addressed the ethics of media and how it’s the “voice of the voiceless.”
Speaker sessions were complemented by songs, from ‘dastak‘, slogans, rhymes, etc in between to keep the crowd engaged despite the drizzle and rain.
The programme was wrapped up by chants and slogans of Azadi, Inquilab, etc. Although the event was to be followed with a protest march at the end but it was cancelled as the rain caused a delay. Hence, affecting the time-bound permission sought prior to the event from the officials. Upon denied any relaxation in time, protesters raised both of their hands up as a gesture, in the air and chanted freedom slogans once again and thus concluded a successfully held peaceful protest.
The students who joined in on the protest talked to DU Beat and said that they felt ‘relatively safer’ in protesting inside the campus and are motivated by Bismil and Ashfaq to speak up and fight for what they believe is wrong. Some of them deemed the act as ‘unconstitutional’ and would continue to fight it till it’s not taken back.
Featured Image Credits: Umaima Khanam for DU Beat