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)