citizenship amendment bill


University of Delhi (DU) students organised a protest in the Arts Faculty of the university on 16th November, in solidarity with Jamia Milia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University.


The Political Science department of the Delhi University (DU) decided to boycott today’s exam. In the protest, the crowd could be heard chanting slogans like, “Amit Shah, Istifa Do” and “DU Prashasan Murdabad”. But, as the protest grew, the police were called in. The protest shifted from the Social Science building’s entrance to down the stairs where the police then began to manhandle students.

Although the police tried to snatch away the phones of the people recording, videos of the police manhandling the students chanting these slogans surfaced online. In one video, the policemen were dragging the All India Students’ Association (AISA) Presidential Candidate for Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) 2018, Abhigyan, while the student away while the crowd was chanting.

The police constables were allegedly heard saying “10 minutes mein sabka kaam khatam, ABVP bulaye hai abhi. (everything will end in 10 minutes for we have called ABVP)”

Soon after, other members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also arrived along with Akshit Dahiya, DUSU President. “Kitne bacchon ka paper hai… Sir aap inhe bahar karo na (so many kids are giving their exams. Please take these people outside),” said Akshit, referring to the protesters.

However, after the arrival of ABVP, the protesters got chased and beaten up by the ABVP members and the police. On multiple videos, the police could be seen manhandling and detaining the students. Bharat Sharma, State Executive Committee member of ABVP, and Sonal Sharma, Ankita Biswas, and Inderjeet Dagar, members of ABVP were caught on tape verbally and physically assaulting the student protestors.

“Akshit Dahiya arrived and ABVP goons started pouring in. Soon, it became complete chaos. Police and ABVP hitting the protestors. Those with the ‘dandas‘ are ABVP goons. Police lent them the batons. Many protestors were detained,” said Noihrit Gogoi, a student who got beaten up at the protest.

Another student present at the protest added, “I got hit on my face. Ten ABVP boys circled me and called me a terrorist and snatched my phone as I was making a video. Akshit Dahiya gave them orders to snatch my phone in front of me. Police were just watching and did nothing.”

Messages of students warning each other to stay away from the Arts Faculty were also circulated on Whatsapp. Meanwhile, the students of the University started sharing messages asking people to message Akshit Dahiya regarding his statement supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). “Spread the word, guys. He has to take this statement down. And that can only happen when students across DU unite. Please text him and let him know that DU does not stand with CAA,” read one message.

“The Delhi University Students’ Union condemns the attack of the academic process of the university by student groups in a move of forcefully preventing students from appearing in examinations… When the affected students called the DUSU President for help, the DUSU President immediately reached the spot and asked the protesters to continue the protest but not force any student to either join or boycott the examination. This led to a clash which sustained injuries on DUSU office bearers and members,” said the DUSU, in its press release.

Akshit Dahiya added, “It is my duty to go out to help the students who are appearing for the exams if they are stopped from doing so. The students called me for help and when I went, I was attacked by them. They raised anti-national slogans in front of me. We can never let such things happen in DU. We reject any lockdown call for DU. We condemn the act of such violent perpetrators and such environment building cannot be tolerated.”

Saimon Farooqi, National Secretary, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) said, “We conducted a very peaceful protest inside the university campus itself. The police mistreated us. Rocky Tuseed who was the DUSU President in 2017 was also manhandled… we were just fighting for our rights and exercising our rights. If these ABVP members are against our protest, it reflects their ideologies. And because they follow the footprints of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it reflects in those parties also.”

The police then took the protesters at the Arts Faculty to Jantar Mantar in their police bus for them to continue the protest at Jantar Mantar as the situation became too violent on the campus.


Featured Image Credits: Arsh Mehdi

Satviki Sanjay

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As students, teachers and administration protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, police turn against the protesters with harsh measures but only to empower the movement.

A few days back, while I was learning about Justice and Legislation, Thomas Jefferson’s words caught my attention, he said, “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty,” but never did I imagine that this quote by the former US President would find relevance in such contexts and conditions or at this price at all. It was Friday, 13th December when the students and teachers of Jamia Millia Islamia University gathered in the University campus to perform their rightful duty by expressing their rejection of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2019 and the Center’s unconstitutional and illegitimate policies.

A hard line of explanation has already been promulgated with regard to the irrelevance and catastrophic outcomes that the Act has on the minorities of the country, it has been well substantiated to be deemed as unconstitutional if not immoral on their part. While Arundhati Roy called the CAB coupled with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as an attempt to threaten, destabilise and stigmatise Indian Muslims, several other Parliamentarians retorted to the Parliament to oppose the legislation of the Citizenship Amendment Bill but only after they failed in their attempt, people across the nation took to the streets to protest against this Bill and stimulate its necessary withdrawal.

The nationwide protests specifically in Kolkata, Assam and Kerala witnessed it’s grandeur in the Capital when students, teachers, and staff of Jamia Millia Islamia came together to express their concerns and register their grievances with regard to the CAB, but what followed was all the more condemning of the police and the administration. There was a time when dissent was India’s best export and protests and marches gathered the necessary attention with successful influence on the decisions and policy matters, but today while the former still holds true it is only to restrict, defame and vandalise the student and university property.

The protest as called by the JMI Teachers Association (JTA), Jamia Administrative Staff Association (JASA), SRK Association and Jamia School’s Teachers Association was on its third day after similar protests were organised by the Hall of Boys Residents and Hall of Girls Residents on 11th and 12th December. The protests that were carried out silently ensuring that it’s met with zero damage to public property or hindrance to the general public was rather cosplayed by the police forces pretending to provide security to the students.

After the teachers and administration addressed the protesters, the gathering was supposed to March towards the Parliament house which was deliberately stopped by the police administration at the Julena Crossing; no one was allowed to cross the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Marg, which runs across the University and, hence, thousands were trapped amidst the commotion that followed.

Undoubtedly, the Delhi Police were prepared for these measures as nothing else could’ve brought a force of thousands of policemen backed with tear gas and armoury that were used to control a bunch of student protesters. The clash between the students and the police had severe repercussions with brutal baton charges and firing being employed in the name of control and disciplinary actions, the actions further agitated the movement and inspired the protesters to take their movement a step further with support and solidarity from writers, actors, lawyers, bureaucrats and other organisations.

“What inspires every student to connect with this movement is the fact that Jamia is devoid of any particular political union, hence, discarding the claims of being driven with a political motive, students are just united against oppression to express unity,” says Mohammad Altamash, of Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia.

The media has surely portrayed everything otherwise and rather than reporting facts has fabricated the entire narrative against the students.

As we enter the fourth day, students are back inside the campus but have not stopped voicing their concerns and are now more empowered than ever before or as Mohammad Bilal Farooqui, Department of History, Jamia Millia Islamia says, “Jamia will never be the same.”



Featured Image Credits: Arsh Mehdi(@tenplusthree)

Faizan Salik

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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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There have been some misconceptions in the past few days regarding the nature of the recent protests in Assam and other North-Eastern states. And therefore, some have been shying away from talking about it. Others are misinformed thinking the Assamese people are just protesting about religion, ignoring the whole debate about ‘illegal migration’. Here’s a deeper look.


While Assam faces an internet shutdown, other Indians are learning more and more about the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Internet itself is offering differing points of view. While some are understanding how the protests in North-East are dissatisfied voices against fall promises, the Twitter handles of prominent Right-wing leaders try assuring us that everything is all right. Some have even gone to the extent of calling this a massive conspiracy; director Vivek Agnihotri (a very ‘right’ individuals with often wrong assumptions) says that Pakistan is supplying arms to these protesters in Assam and goes on to call the movement against Citizenship Amendment Act, ‘Pakistan’s revenge for Kashmir’!

But those who can figure out the wrongs, are out on the streets even in Delhi, looking beyond their privilege and uniting for solidarity with the North-East, a region which mainland India has ignored more than often. Yesterday, Jamia Milia Islamia’s peaceful march by students and staff to the Parliament wasn’t allowed to step beyond the college gates too as the police engaged in lathi charges, and used tear gas to disperse the crowds. Another march took place to Jantar Mantar today.

Contrary to the anger amongst Delhi’s youth, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) led Delhi University Students’ Union, posted a message on their social media handles on 11th December, which didn’t surprise many. ‘ABVP wholeheartedly welcomes passage of the #CitizenshipAmendmentBill2019 in the Upper House of the Parliament of India. The persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will now be able to get citizenship of India and lead a life of dignity.’

Clearly, the Citizenship Amendment Bill which now became an Act has a religious background to it, for the Centre which backed it. If you look at it from a simplistic perspective, you would think that the only controversial aspect of the bill as many of you know, is just the fact that Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh would be denied easy citizenship in India as these countries already have an Islamic majority. The central government in the nation and DUSU out here in Delhi University want you to see the Act only in terms of religion. And obviously, in terms of religion, the Act is biased as it seems to allow persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists from such countries (as if Muslims cannot be persecuted at all in these countries). So, that’s how the initial buzz around Citizenship Amendment developed in the cities. #MuslimLivesMatter is trending amongst many Instagram posts and for the right reason.

Screenshot (14)Official post by ABVP

But now, with the rise in violence and chaos, and the deployment of paramilitary in the North-East, we must be informed that it’s not the communal angle for which the locals are fighting authority. They are angered by a promise that got broken, proving again that the mainland cares little for them.

To quote an Assamese friend (who wishes to remain unnamed for now), ‘Assamese people voted for BJP hoping that the party will remove illegal migrants. But now this selective bias of keeping some migrants, and removing the rest, means that our demands mean nothing for them.’ To put it in a nutshell, the inhabitants of Assam and other states of the North-East don’t wish to have anyone don’t want to provide refuge anymore to illegal migrants.

Whether a person follows Hinduism or Islam, speaks Bengali or Assamese, that is not the first priority for the protesters. All that bothered these protesters was if a person is in an illegal immigrant and all. Early on this year, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was riddled with its own problems (many ‘true’ inhabitants’ names were removed while many ‘illegal foreigners’ made it to the list), but it did offer the locals some hope. Now, with the BJP-led Centre’s plan of selectively choosing who will stay in Assam, and who will not, has turned the NRC into a joke.

Again, those who are looking at this issue from their simplistic bubble might interpret the current rage in Assam as ‘xenophobic’. But we should take a minute to understand the situation over there. An already overlooked region, the North-East has limited land and limited resources, and cultural identities (note we’re talking about cultural identity, not religious identity) of the people here are endangered. They just can’t afford to hold any illegal immigrants; such demands and issues have been raised by the region for so long. And what did the North-Easterners get in return for these demands: a joke.

A joke that became a bill and now has turned into an Act.

Hence, if you are reading up about the Act and the rage around it, please don’t just look at it from a simplistic understanding. It’s not possible to think about what the locals must be feeling there, but try to broaden your thought. After all, even the bespectacled debating lapdog of the Centre has gone against the Centre this time!

Know that the Act is definitely communal, but also heavily exploitative of the demands of a cultural and numerical minority. Today, one section of this country saw its electoral rights being played with to suit the Centre’s own agendas, tomorrow it might be your rights, your identity, that might become a joke…


Featured Image Credits- Biju Boro


Shaurya Singh Thapa

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The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 on got approved on 8th January by India‘s Lower House of Parliament that would grant residency and citizenship rights to undocumented non-Muslim immigrants. Why has this Bill suddenly come under the lens?

The North-East people have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 for the past couple of weeks. Before we get behind the reasons for it, let’s try to find out what is the entire fuss is all about.

The aforementioned bill, which has been introduced in the Lok Sabha aims to amend the existing Citizenship Act of 1955. It says that people who have illegally migrated and are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis, Jains, and Buddhists from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, are automatically eligible for citizenship and will be granted residence. It provides citizenship to those who have been forced to leave their countries and take shelter in India because of religious persecution or fears of persecution. The Bill also says that those migrants who arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014, cannot be deported or imprisoned.

Under this amendment, the wait time for citizenship is also reduced. The bill reduces the time to 6 years from 11 years for citizenship for the people from different religions and the countries.

Now, what is the Citizenship Act of 1955? According to it, an illegal immigrant is identified as the one who enters the country without proper travel documents and it also includes those people who do possess valid documents but stay beyond their permitted time period. They are prohibited from acquiring Indian citizenship.

The Assam Accord of 1985 is also an important part of this entire issue. The people of Assam, led by the All Assam Students’ Union, demanded the identification and deportation of the illegal immigrants. Also, illegal migrants who had entered Assam from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, were to be deported. This accord was an agreement between the central government of India and the students’ union. The NRC (National Register of Citizens) update exercise that started last year was conducted in line with the Assam AccordThis ongoing NRC-updating process will be badly affected if the bill gets passed. So, once the NRC exercise would be done all the people who turn out to be verified illegal immigrants will be deported back.

Now, you may ask the reason behind all these hunger strikes and effigy-burning.  All the North-Eastern states either share the border or are in close proximity to Bangladesh. Most of the immigration to India happens from Bangladesh. This substantial rise in the number of immigrants became a serious issue for the indigenous people of the North-East.  And so, many different tribal regions made laws that restricted the immigrants or any non-tribals for that matter, from buying land or staying in their land indefinitely.

Secondly, the Bill only mentions granting residence and citizenship to Hindu immigrants and not Muslim immigrants. This raises serious questions about India’s claim of being a secular state. It violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality to all persons, citizens and foreigners. Differentiating between the people along religious lines, especially when it comes to citizenship issues, would be in violation of the Constitution. 

At this point, you can’t even believe that the government wants to protect the persecuted. This is evident in the way the central government handled Rohingya Muslims.

There is another loophole in this. According to a Wire Article, there is confusing terminology associated with the bill. First, the bill seems to term minority religious people as migrants, when the matter isn’t as simple as one would imagine. A significant of them are refugees, not migrants. The word migration refers to the voluntary movement of people from one place to another, primarily for the purpose of better economic prospects. On the other hand, seeking refuge is an act of involuntary, often enforced shifting of people from one place (or nation) to another, due to situations like war, ethnic cleansing, etc. The concerns of the refugees are mainly based on human rights and safety, not economic advantages. The purpose of the introduction of the Bill, as stated by the government, is to provide shelter to vulnerable, religiously-persecuted people whose fundamental human rights are at risk. But here, the correct terminology is most important, because the laws and policies for migrants and refugees are completely different.

The thing we need to keep in mind before we take into account everything, giving asylum to refugees on humanitarian grounds and providing permanent citizenship to them are two very different things. The government needs to think wisely on such a sensitive issue.

-Disha Saxena

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-Image Credits: The Sentinel