The SRCC Administration cancels North East Cell’s panel discussion on the grounds of misinformation and violence mere hours before the event.

On 23 January 2020, the North-East cell of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) was going to conduct a panel discussion on “Why the North-East is Protesting,” where the cell wanted to create awareness about the ongoing protests in the North-East against Citizenship (Amendment) Act. However, after concerns of violence, the administration canceled the event a mere few hours before.

The speakers invited were academic scholars and journalists, among which two were faculties of the University itself. Apparently, the administration convened an emergency meeting and without any prior information to the organisers of the Program and the Heads of the Cell, called off the Program.

The statement released by the North-East Cell says, “The event scheduled to take place today, organised by the North-East cell SRCC stands cancelled by the administration.  In an emergency meeting held mere hours before the event, the Administration and Dr.  Simrit Kaur, the Principal, informed us that the event is cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances. We were told that they received information about the possibility of violence on campus, if the event was to take place. We were also told that there was no balance in our panel and all our speakers had the ‘same bent of mind’.”


“They also suggested this event be conducted at a later time and said it was unwise to have the event in this climate. We insisted that this was not a politically motivated event and that it was conducted because there exists a complete lack of awareness about the North-East protests in the College. This discussion was the need of the hour which garnered immense support and we were expecting a large crowd of students all over the campus.” adds the statement.

In the letter by the Students’ Union to the Principal of the College, the Union cites ‘violence and misleading information’ as the main reason for the cancellation of the event.

The Letter sent by the Students’ Union said, “The North-East society of SRCC is conducting a seminar on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act today (23.1.2020) in room no:2. This seminar is based on a one-sided ideology on the CAA act which may indulge violence and misleading information among the students. Furthermore, the Government has already circulated to educational institutions regarding spreading awareness about the facts and right information about CAA. Being a responsible institution, SRCC must not accept this seminar which is against the norms of social welfare. So, the (The Students Union) considering the interest of the majority, request you to cancel the permission to host the seminar. If this request of ours is subject to cancellation, we request you to grant permission to our seminar which will include the same kind of one-sided ideologies. Taking into consideration the benefits and well-being of everyone involved, we request you to take a favourable decision.”

However, as alleged by the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) in their statement, two days before the scheduled event, under the influence of threat of violence from Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the Students’ Union and the Administration pressurised the organisers to call off the event.

As told by a student to The Wire, the students attending the event also received calls from the Students’ Union to discourage the students from attending the protest.

The North-East Cell expressed their disappointment in the message circulated by the Students’ Union and said it was disrespectful towards the speakers.

“Our speakers have years of experience and research to back any statement they make, and the Union didn’t have an issue blatantly attacking their credibility. We would also like to point out that the speakers were informed by the Administration that the event is cancelled due to a technical issue,” adds the statement.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Satviki Sanjay

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Students of Ram Lal Anand College (RLAC) condemned guest speaker Balbir Punj regarding the statements made during his most recent address at the College’s seminar last Friday. 

The students of RLAC have released a statement condemning Balbir Punj and the stances he took as a guest speaker during a seminar held on 17th January 2020. Punj, an ex-MP from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was present at the seminar as a guest speaker. According to the released statement, when questioned regarding CAA and NRC, he could not address it.

In a seminar about CAA/NRC, minority institutions namely, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), St. Stephens, and Section 15 of the Constitution were attacked. At the beginning of the seminar, Punj allegedly refused to accept the existence of CAA and then proceeded to justify the act. According to the students, Punj reduced the student movement to ‘dog-whistle politics’, made communal arguments rather than exploring other aspects of the act, quoted Jinnah and made remarks about the minorities of other countries without addressing the problem of minorities in India. He did not address the active concerns of the students and addressed India as being made to originally be a religious and not a secular state. In the seminar, Punj also explained the notion of secularism, that he denies being a part of the Preamble, he goes on mentioning Article 29 and 30 of the Indian constitution which gives special and cultural rights to the minority communities which makes India a secular and pluralist country. Punj attacked the minority communities of Christians and Muslims, questioning the minority provisions being given to these communities under the guise of secularism.

“CAA/NRC/NPR cannot be understood in isolation. When Amit Shah himself explains the chronology of CAA and NRC, we should not forget this is an open attempt to reduce India’s minority to second class citizens. We should not forget that when our economy is facing the biggest slowdown in 10 years, high rates of unemployment, privatization of institutions, attack on universities to suppress dissent, increase in inflation etc CAA/NRC/NPR is a sword to divert attention from real issues.

While Mr Balbir Punj quoted Jinnah and mentioned Pakistan several times, we would like to quote Gandhi to you “I could not associate myself with the contention that India should drive out all its Muslim population to Pakistan as the Muslims of Pakistan were driving out all non-Muslims. Two wrongs cannot make one right”, 19 September 1947,” the statement read.

Balbir was also unable to answer any of the questions posed to him by the students present at the seminar. “Balbir Punj made all possible communal statements which are really dangerous for an educational institution. He attacked the idea of an inclusive India. He tried to mold data and history in all possible ways. The talk was a failure and the worst part was when I questioned him about citizenship of LGBTQ community as most of them are not in good terms with family so, obviously can’t produce documents and talked about situation of LGBTQ Community inside the campus, he smiled and responded in really shameful and insensitive way,” Deshdeep Dhankar, a student from RLAC who was present at the seminar, told DU Beat.

While, Gulshan Kumar, President, Students’ Union, said, “On our request sir delivered and lecture for around an hour and every single student of our college heard him very patiently. We also took feedbacks from the students. But it’s sad to say that some of the students who were not even present wanted to disturb the lecture. When the students were allowed to ask questions few students who follow the left ideology tried to disturb the atmosphere of the auditoriumand tried to manipulate the students.”
He further added, the Union’s comment on the same, “RLASU condemns such kind of action. The poster and banners were also pasted on the wall by the passout students of the college and this is not at all acceptable. The union is for the the Student’s of RLA and we are always committed to work for them. But the students union will not at all entertain the interest of outsiders.”

The ex-MP had come to the institution for a talk in favour of the CAA and NRC. The students of RLAC have condemned the talk, and called it “shameful, a failure, and a blatant spread of lies.”


Feature Image Credit: Shiksha

Shreya Juyal

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As I write this, I am not fine actually. I don’t know if you are aware of the situation in Assam ever since the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed in the Indian Parliament. Nothing seems to be like a normal vacation back home this time.

Right from the internet services shutdown to the peaceful gatherings; we have braved everything with courage and faith in the Indian Judiciary that justice will be delivered.

We have problems right from getting in touch and connecting with our family and friends as even a normal call wouldn’t just happen.

Sadness is a small word to capture the struggles we are going through every single day for our basic communication, essential necessities and the protection of our very own identity.

Although there is no curfew now and there have been comparatively peaceful protests, yet there is a wind of melancholy around as students in hostels of Universities have been under lockdown. Education in its truest sense is about the liberation of the mind and intellect but when our very institutions capture the intellect, where does one knock the door in search of reason and light?

As things try to return back to normal, waves of horror from the recent past are still fresh as the wounds bleed and heal simultaneously.

Everyone here had to struggle to get food and basic necessities during the curfew and the outstation students have not been able to go home because of safety issues. The Armed forces could be seen on the roads, visibly creating a vibe of horror in the minds of people once again. Our wounds had just started to heal when they got cut again in a matter of decades. The trauma is difficult to go through once again.

People are afraid to stay outside their homes until late as they fear that anything can happen at any time. Everything seems so unpredictable, it’s so heart-breaking.

Those days of internet shutdown didn’t feel like the democratic India that we had always been studying about, or been living in for so long. It was terrifying to the extent of disbelief that we had to go through the terrors normally experienced in anarchy. We felt like prisoners at the mercy of the government, hands tied and mouth forcefully shut; with no voice or medium to let our voice be heard.

My friends from the Cotton University in Guwahati were the first ones to start the series of protests initially against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Guwahati. They have seen it all. Right from the gunfires to curfew to the lack of food and other necessities in hostels.

My friend Panna Priyam Das sums it up. “I had read about wars, riots and civil disobedience, but all of these were a distant past and a very unlikely future until this brutal present hit me and the people of my state right in the face. I guess from romanticizing war scenarios to actually trying to fall asleep to the constant sound of sirens and gunfire and nationalistic slogans, we all got the lesson for our lackadaisical attitudes towards Politics. Fascism blossomed in our ignorance, so much so, that we have become captives in our old land and have to compromise our own integrity.”

All the artists of Assam are coming together on a common platform and starting their own kind of peaceful protests by singing patriotic songs on stages in huge fields and expressing their concern about their cultural identity being endangered and being lost, amongst them is the famous Assamese singer Zubeen Garg.

Solidarity amongst all the linguistic and religious groups can be seen despite their cultural differences as almost people from all fields came out on the roads and took out rallies in large numbers.

There is no stopping to this revolution here in the North East, but what is sad is the fact mainland media has continuously side-lined the North-East and the issues that concern us.

As I write this, I do not want my identity to remain anonymous. Rather, I want to assert my identity in all its might and glory. We are proud Assamese, proud Indians. I have faith in my nation. I have faith in my culture and my rights.

This is the time when I need to assert my identity and my culture more than ever as this is a time of crisis for my identity and culture.

Understand and talk about our cause, our problem and our plight. As Indians, it is the childhood phrase of ‘Unity in Diversity’, crossed across our hearts that defines us at this very moment.

Stand for Us. Stand for India.


 Featured Image Credits- Hindustan Times

Pallabi Dutta

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Note- This is a guest feature, authored by a student from Delhi University .

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

[email protected]

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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The National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam has been released, bringing about landmark changes in the citizenship picture in the state. Some Assamese students at the University of Delhi (DU) tell their tales.

About four years after the exercise first began, the NRC list was finally completed and released on 31 August. Monitored by the Supreme Court, the NRC was a massive headcount exercise that sought to differentiate legitimate Indian citizens from “illegal” or “undocumented” immigrants who migrated from other countries – especially Bangladesh – into the state of Assam.

Out of the nearly 3.3 crore people who had applied for inclusion in the NRC, around 19 lakhs have been excluded from the final list. Contrary to speculation, the people who have been excluded would not be considered foreigners or deported; they have a 120-day window to appeal to the quasi-judicial Foreigners Tribunal to have their claims considered. If unsatisfied with the decision of these tribunals, those excluded also have the option of appealing to the higher courts.

A student of DU, who hails from Assam, said, on conditions of anonymity, that the whole NRC exercise had been undertaken to reap “political benefits”. He highlighted how the NRC was received in Assam: “We saw it in a mixed-light; it was good in the sense that the demography of Assam had changed because of illegal immigration, but we also had doubts…When the Assam Accord was signed in 1985, the deadline [for determining Indian citizenship] was set at 1971. So, there was a 14-year gap between the deadline and the signing of the Accord. If the NRC was implemented during that time, then maybe things would have been different; now, nearly 35 years have passed since 198/. If an illegal immigrant did actually come [to India] in 1972, after the cut-off date of 1971, then they would have had children and grandchildren by now. So, there would be two generations of people who would have been born in India, but now would get disenfranchised as Indian citizens, so it would create a humanitarian problem.”

The student also said that the Bangladeshi Government would never accept the illegal immigrants back to their country as they had always been “unaccepting of the fact that illegal immigration has taken place from their land.” The whole exercising had the potential of deepening the divides in the state, he said.

Even though our source claimed that he and his family had all the requisite documents for proving their citizenship as they were all born and brought up in Assam – while their forefathers had come to the state around the time of partition – he said that they still had to face troubles. “Our citizenship status was declared as descendants of foreigners when there is nothing of that sort because we have all the requisite documents from 1954-55. “My grandfathers migrated long back, did their job here, resided here, they had their names on the voter list,” he told us. A serious hindrance was lack of access to information: “Nobody was able to answer our questions as to why our status was like that. Just because we didn’t have access to high ranking officials. So, you don’t have any access to information, no checks and balance mechanism about why your status was like that,” we were told.

Even government officials involved in the exercise admit to the practical hardships. Another Assamese student, a family member of whom is an official involved in the process, recalled a conversation when the latter told her about the practical difficulties being faced by the people: poor and illiterate people suffered the most, while the recent floods had also made matters worse.

The first student continues his story: “Even though the idea of NRC is good, throwing people out is not a pragmatic option. Just telling someone that even though you and your father were born and brought up in India, you are not an Indian citizen because your grandfather or great-grandfather was an illegal immigrant is not something which, in a democratic country like India, we are accustomed to or would want to do.” Neither was throwing people out a pragmatic option, nor was keeping them in “concentration camps” right for a democratic country to do, he said. “It would not be any different from China keeping Uighur Muslims in camps.”

So what could be done? “Maybe designate them as D-voters [Doubtful Voters] and not give them some residential, property or voting rights that normal Indian citizens get,” our source said. But, as would seem evident, he was quick to point out problems with this too. “This cannot help change the demography of Assam because if people can’t be thrown out then whoever resides today at this point of time will always be there. So it doesn’t address the main concern of the Assamese people about their demography being changed. The ultimate purpose of this exercise goes in vain, according to me.”

The NRC was not the only recent citizenship-related controversy that rocked the north-eastern states. The Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016, or CAB, was a piece of legislation which also created a widespread row in the North-Eastern states – and it was not limited to just Assam. The Bill aimed to provide citizenship to people belonging to minority faiths in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan – Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Paris, Buddhists, and Jains – who were forced to flee their home countries owing to religious persecution. It also reduced the time period of continuous stay in India needed to become an Indian citizen by the process of naturalisation from a period of 11 to six years. The Bill saw massive protests in the north-eastern states. Some of the ruling BJP’s own allies from that part of the country broke away from their political alliances. The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha but lapsed in the Rajya Sabha.

Our source tells us that Assam was divided in their support for the CAB. The Brahmaputra Valley, with a predominantly Assamese population, opposed the Bill, while people in the Barak Valley – largely Bengalis – supported it. Manas Pratim Sharma, a student of Hindu College, also pointed out this dichotomy in an article he wrote for the North-East magazine of the college. The first student continues by saying that he has had to explain to a lot of people his reasons for supporting the CAB. “The CAB does not say that new people would be brought in from Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc. into India. It talks about whoever has come on or before 31st December 2014; it talks about those who are already here and they will be provided Indian citizenship by process of naturalisation over a period of six years. I don’t think the people residing in north-east or any part of India can be kicked out or be held in concentration camps. Then the CAB makes sense as it addresses people from religious minorities in neighbouring countries who have fled because of political and religious persecution,” he said.

However, taking cognisance of the huge protests that erupted over the CAB, the student also said, “If there is a huge uproar in the NE, then I’d actually be okay – I’d want it, in fact – if people who have migrated on or before 2014 and have not yet settled down in the north-eastern states be shifted to some other parts of the country and be rehabilitated there. This would not be the first time this would happen; it has happened in 1947, 1971, 1984 and other times also. I think there is scope for the government [to do this] so that the north-eastern states don’t have to bear the brunt of migration that the Indian state faces and that it’s evenly distributed, because that is also a primary concern of the north-eastern people…One part of the country should not disproportionately take the burden [of immigration]. If that condition is met with, I’m fine with the CAB in light of the NRC.”

A noted disappointment over the disproportionate share of migrant intake as experienced by the north-eastern states was also seen in Mr Sharma’s article, where he says the following in light of the CAB: “There is a perception that the passage of the CAB will open the floodgates for a fresh wave of influx of Bangladeshi Hindus to India, and Northeast will have to bear the brunt of the next wave of influx again.”

The students we spoke to were secure. Their names were there in the final list, even though some had not appeared in the earlier drafts, despite the names of their families being mentioned. As things stand, 19 lakh people have been excluded. As many media reports showed, there were numerous discrepancies in the earlier drafts: not everyone from the same family was included; relatives of government officials and servicemen were excluded and so on. It is likely that most of the excluded people would appeal to the Foreigners’ Tribunals. Illegal immigration is a real problem for any country; even more so in states of the north-east with a sensitive indigenous cultural demography. It can be hoped that the State would carry out the subsequent phases of the exercise with precision while keeping humanitarian concerns in mind.


Feature Image credits – India Today

Prateek Pankaj
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