In response to the abrogation of Article 35A and Article 370, the nation saw countrywide protests being organised by various organisations.

Student leaders, political figures, and dissenting students took to the streets of Mandi House  to make their way to Jantar Mantar to protest the abrogation of Article 35A and Article 370 which granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The protest was supported by organisations including Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), and All India Forward Bloc (AIFB).

The move has left people confused and shocked. People have been vocal about their dissent through social media. The varied reactions, some celebratory and some condemning it have made Delhi the hotbed of protests and celebration rallies this week.

“There’s a new way of misogyny in the air after the abrogation. There are memes and posts about men wanting to marry a Kashmiri woman. Does this mean they intend to kill all our boys? There has been excitement over the prospect of buying land. So, it was never about the people, was it? Only the land,” said a Kashmiri woman.”I’ve been here for 10 years. I went to university here, I got my first job here. I’ve never come out for a protest ever before but the latest news forced me out of my house. I need to be seen, I need to be heard.” added another Kashmiri woman on the conditions of anonymity.Amidst placards, posters, and media personnel running around to take interviews, a few protestors drew graffiti and wrote slogans on the road as leaders from the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Lenininst) spoke about the issue.

Shortly, a counter protest by unknown people began outside the barricades. They unfurled the national flag and waved it high while shouting slogans demanding ‘azaadi’ (freedom) from ‘anti-nationals’. Their display of hyper nationalism found itself in slogans praising the nation as the police and CRPF forces formed a tight, protective circle around them. The counter protesters also chanted aggressive slogans like “desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaron saalon ko” (shoot all the traitors of the nation).

As the valley spends its third day without any communication channels, reports and rumours of protests, stone pelting, and death in the rehion leave the Kashmiri students in Delhi distressed.Students are yet to hear from their families back home. Reports of curfew and increased military presence has only added to their fears and worries.

The abrogation has left Ladakh as a Union Territory without its own legislature. Students from Ladakh spoke against the decision. Mohammad Ali, a student from Jawaharlal Nehru University said,“The MP proudly smiles and boasts his hapoiness on TV, he say the people of Ladakh are happy, but let me tell you that they aren’t. There have been protests because we don’t welcome this move. Bifurcating the state only puts us in a more vulnerable position. Ladakh’s ecology is in danger due to climate change and rising tourism. The abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A will only damage the ecology further as outsiders will try to set up their companies. Tell me, how do you take such a major decision without asking the people? Is this what Indian democracy stands for?”

Many students chose to cover their faces at the protest or chose to not show up at all. Fear of being recognised and reported grips the Kashmiri diaspora in Delhi. “As a Kashmiri woman, my fears have only increased this year. First it was Pulwama, and now this.” The suddenness of the abrogation has left students torn between the legalities and the emotions it provokes. “It’s unconstitutional and undemocratic, that’s all I can say,” said a university student. “They’ll have to lift the curfew someday, and when they will, there will be bloodshed. I am terrified of that happening.”

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat


Jaishree Kumar

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The lanes near Jantar Mantar and Parliament Street flooded with protestors as the Centre issued the news of the abrogation of Article 35A, and Article 370 which granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

This morning, Home Minister Amit Shah announced in the Rajya Sabha, that Article 35A, and Article 370 which grants the state of Jammu & Kashmir special status are to be abrogated.
As the hours went on, the bill was passed.

The move leaves Jammu and Kashmir as a union territory with its own legislature. Ladakh would also be a union territory, but without its own assembly.

Since 4th August, Kashmir has been under lockdown with a complete shutdown of internet, broadband, and cellular services. Many Kashmiris across the world have said their indefinite goodbyes to their loved ones, unaware of when the ban would be lifted. Fear, anxiety, and paranoia have gripped the valley as news of deployment of thousands of paramilitary forces spreads out. Tourists and pilgrims have been asked to leave the state immediately, in the face of intelligence reports alleging a terror threat.

On 5th August, as the news of abrogation spread like wildfire throughout the University, student organisations took it upon themselves to celebrate, and resist.

As the ABVP celebrated the move near Arts Faculty with sweets and dhol, Left-leaning parties like the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), All India Students’ Federation (AISF) and All India Students’ Association (AISA) gathered around Jantar Mantar to protest against the move. The impromptu protest which was organised within two hours saw hundreds of gatherers with placards, demanding that the Articles be reinstated.
A Kashmiri student who requested to stay anonymous said, “I’m speechless, I don’t know what else to say.”

The protest also saw prominent leaders of the CPI (M), like Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat. As cries of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ echoed through the Parliament Street, the protesters burnt an effigy in an attempt to defame the Modi government. 

“I was thinking that this might happen since it was a part of the BJP’s manifesto, but deep down, I didn’t want it to happen. It’s only about the territory now, not the people,” said Hayder, a student. 

Due to the communication blackout, students have been unable to reach out to their loved ones. Almost every Kashmiri student remembers the exact time they last reached out to their family.

Residents of Kashmir are yet to find out about the abrogation. 

Speaking to DU Beat, Dipankar Bhattacharya, the General Secretary of CPI (ML) called the move as a ‘constitutional coup’ and ‘a complete travesty of truth and justice’. “I think this is a warning to every Indian of the shape of things to come, and these things are coming conspitarioly, but are coming rather fast. This is an adventurous way of governing. This is a recipe for disaster. It’s a time-bomb ticking away for the rest of India. Just because it was a part of the BJP manifesto and that they won the popular mandate doesn’t mean that the whole of India supports this move,” added Bhattacharya.

Ehthemam, a student of Jamia Milia Islamia called the move ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘illegal’. “The army and state repression has been high in Kashmir, with the cellular and internet shutdowns, it only increases the paranoia over human rights violations in the valley. They want control of Kashmir’s resources which is why they choose to abrogate Articles 35A and Article 370. The abrogation is impractical and will only worsen the conflict.”

Kawalpreet Kaur, the president of AISA, Delhi State added “This is illegal and should be challenged in court. This protest showed us that people aren’t happy with what happened today.”

Kaur declared that the resistance would carry on in the form of another protest march on the 7th of August, from Mandi House to Parliament Street. 

“The curfew will be lifted some day, people will come to know, how long will you repress us for? What happened today was unconstitutional,” said a Kashmiri woman addressing the gathering.

Home Minister Amit Shah has assured the opposition in the Rajya Sabha: full statehood at ‘appropriate time’ after ‘normalcy’ returns.
But for a state which has been militarized for decades, what is defined as ‘normal’? Amidst internet shutdowns and pellet guns, where does the Kashmiri identity go?

Feature Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar for DU Beat

Jaishree Kumar

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The Students’ Federation of India (SFI), CPI (M)’s student wing, conducted a referendum last week on the widely debated Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) which was implemented at the undergraduate level  this year by the Delhi University. The referendum was conducted through polling stations at 12 major colleges of the varsity. These included Kirori Mal College, Hindu College, Shri Ram College of Commerce, SGTB Khalsa College, Miranda House, Laxmi Bai College, Satyawati College, Satyawati College (Evening), Zakir Hussain College, Zakir Hussain College (Evening), Motilal Nehru College, Ram Lal Anand College, Aryabhatta College, Dyal Singh College, Dyal Singh College (Evening), Aurobindo College and Aurobindo College (Evening).

The students voted in considerable numbers at all the centres leaving the final vote count at 12,769. Out of the number of votes casted, 11,734 voted against the system by selecting the ‘No’ option on the ballot papers while 1,016 voted for it. 19 votes were deemed invalid. The counting was done on Wednesday evening outside the Arts Faculty by a three member teacher panel. 91.89% of the votes were against the system.

SFI, which claims to be constantly battling for a fair higher education system in the country, faced resistance from the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in various colleges as the former was eventually garnering a lot of support during the lead up to the referendum. The Federation now plans to do a nationwide referendum on the nature of higher education in the country and accordingly report the results to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Image credits: SFI

Sidharth Yadav

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