On 15th December, Delhi Police was seen open firing at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) students protesting against the CAA. 

This came after the JMI students were accused of setting four buses on fire as a means of protest. However, in a statement, the Jamia Students and Alumni Association clarified that the violent protests were organized by the people living in the area.  “The university has already declared winter vacation and postponed semester examination after 13 December incident. A large number of students staying in hostels have already left and the Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar appealed to the students to maintain peace,” said the association. 

The police open fired from the JMI University gate at the unarmed students inside. Videos also surfaced where the Delhi Police could be seen firing and lathi charging at the protesters near the New Friends Colony. 

The police then entered the campus forcefully and trashed the library and the mosque with tear gas attacks. 

Waseem Ahmad Khan the Chief Proctor of Jamia Milia Islamia University said in his statement, “Police have entered the campus by force, no permission was given. Our staff and students are being beaten up and forced to leave the campus.”

“The police entered the campus and was violent towards the students. They attacked us with tear gas and the students had to hide inside the library campus… some of the students have hurt their heads and other body parts. There is no medical facility currently available here” said Saimon Farooqi, National Secretary of NSUI.

In another video recording, a student could be heard saying; “reading hall mein ghuske sheeshe todd ke tear gas chodd rahe hain. Hum sab log lights off karke chhupe huye hain yaha pe (they are deploying tear gas after breaking the windows in the reading hall. We are all hiding after shutting off the lights) ”

Videos of police brutality surfaced online where students were seen unconscious amidst the rubble in the aftermath. In a video, students could be seen hiding and blocking the room from the Policemen outside. In another video, a man named Mohammad Taneem, admitted in Holy Family Hospital, could be seen with a bullet wound on his leg. It has been speculated that  Shakir, a student of JMI, also passed away due to the attack with rumors of two other unconfirmed deaths also circulating.

The students were then given a window of an hour to leave the campus safely.

The Delhi Police, however, said that the situation is under control at Jamia university. “It was a violent mob, some of them were detained.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) Chinmoy Biswal said to PTI, “four buses and two police vehicles were torched during the protest, adding six policemen were also injured. Stones were pelted from inside the varsity at police personnel, forcing them to use teargas to disperse the violent mob.”

Saurav Ghosh, General Secretary of All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO), issued the following statement, “the AIDSO in strongest words condemn the firing on protesting students in Jamia Milia Islamia today. The students of JMI have time and again declared that they are resolved to continue the protest peacefully. In spite of that, on the pretext of violence by some fringe elements, which need a thorough interrogation, the police started firing bullets on the peaceful protestors of JMI, resulting in many casualties. Many of them got bullet injuries and were admitted to the hospital… We uphold the rights of the student’s community for their democratic protest against the communally biased Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which is being opposed nationwide and warn the police administration as well as the central government to immediately stop exercising these brutal and deadly attacks.”

Statements from JNUSU, JNUTA and other student groups came out in support of JMI appealing students to come to protest in front of the Delhi Police Headquarters in ITO. They then marched towards ITO chanting the slogan, “Delhi police, Jamia Choddo”. The march was also attended by various activists and several MPs. DU North Campus students also came out to protest in support of JMI students at Vishwavidhalaya Metro Station.

Apparently, Special Taskforce was also deployed in Jamia at around 11 pm on 15th December with a curfew all over and orders to shoot on sight. 

Entry and exit gates of metro stations of IIT, GTB Nagar, Patel Chowk, Model Town, Pragati Maidan, Delhi Gate, Shivaji Stadium, RK Puram, Munirka, Vasant Vihar, Sukhdev Vihar, Jamia Millia Islamia, Okhla, and Vishwavidhalaya have also now been closed. Trains will not be halting at these stations.

Feature Image Credits: Anonymous

Satviki Sanjay

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Protesters come out in large numbers to express dissent over the CAA on the 14th of December amidst heavy police barricading and fears of violence.

A day after the protests against the unconstitutional nature of CAB turned excessively violent in Jamia Millia Islamia, a similar protest was scheduled to begin opposite Jantar Mantar at 3 PM. The presence of heavy police barricading, riot control police and other riot control measures at the site of the protest did little to dissuade these fears. The protest was eventually non-violent with the police nor resorting to brutality. Irtiza, one of the organisers of the protest believes that protesting against the fascist nature of the government is necessary now more than ever, before its too late. He says “ The fight against CAB and NRC is the fight for a united India and the Indian constitution. If this country has to survive then both these processes have to be stopped. If we don’t come out today and say that CAB and NRC are #NotInMyName. There may not be a tomorrow. It has to be now or never!”

The CAA proposes to offer Indian Citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Muslims have been excluded. It is the Government’s argument that minorities of these three countries face persecution on the basis of religion. The protesters argue that this act is unconstitutional to the core, considering that India is a secular country. Protesters point to the very islamophobic and communal nature of the act which would lead to the destruction of what India stands for. 

It was evident during the protest that even though everyone was against CAA, the reasons behind it were vastly different. People from the Northeast, an area that has been plunged into fire and turmoil due to the bill had a different reason to reject CAB. As a man from Arunachal Pradesh goes on to say “ we don’t want CAA to be implemented in the Northeast. It’s a different approach for mainland India but for the Northeastern part of the country, we do not want any illegal immigrants coming to our state. It’s not about being Hindu or being Muslim, it’s irrespective of that. This act totally violates our status that has been provided, it will totally affect our culture. In Tripura, the tribals are around 30%, we are joining rally because even though they have a different cause, the main goal is to resist this act.”

Some people like Bilal Saifi, a graduate from Delhi University were resisting CAB with a different agenda in mind. He says “ We are basically struggling and fighting for our existence. The first priority is roti, kapda, makan ( food, clothing, shelter), then comes liberty, freedom, and our existence. We are facing an existential crisis just because of this fascist regime. We want to show that they are not just targeting Muslims, they are also attacking the constitution, the very structure, belief, and value system of the constitution. This government is targeting our basic rights and the Constitution and that is why we are here protesting.”
Feature Image Credits: Aditi Gutgutia for DU Beat

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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