Campus protests erupted across the country on Monday against the amended Citizenship Act and the alleged police brutality against the protesting students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi and the Aligarh Muslim University the previous night, PTI reported.
The protests began soon after the violence at Jamia Millia Islamia on Sunday evening, as students of Aligarh Muslim University gathered at the campus gate later on the same night. The protests turned into clashes with the police, and over 100 students were reportedly injured. Following this, students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, Jadavpur University in Kolkata, and Pondicherry University held protests.
While reports of the Delhi Police using live bullets to control the mob at Jamia did the rounds, officials denied that any shots were fired. They claimed to have used “maximum restraint, minimum force”, adding that the Crime Branch will look into the matter.
However, two persons, who were part of the protests in Delhi, were admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital, NDTV reported.
Thousands of students took part in the protests in Delhi against the police action on Jamia students. Students of Delhi University boycotted their examinations and held protests outside the Arts faculty in North Campus amid heavy deployment of police personnel.
At the protests at India Gate, which were mainly led by students, demonstrators read out the preamble to the Constitution on Monday evening. Earlier in the day, a few protestors carried the tricolour as others clapped and chanted slogans against the Centre and the Delhi Police.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation announced the closure of several exit and entry points to metro stations as the protests continued outside Jamia Millia Islamia University and the India Gate.
Students from the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, University of Hyderabad and Osmania University protested against the amended law and the police action in Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia.
Protestors at Hyderabad University called for a rollback of the amended law, and asked for stringent action against the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police. A group of students held a sit-in protest inside Osmania University campus, and raised slogans against the Centre, Delhi Police. They held posters that read: “Reject CAB, Boycott NRC.”
Students at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University said they will conduct protests against the amended Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizens in a peaceful and democratic manner. They had earlier called for a boycott of exams and urged the varsity’s administration to postpone them.
Police personnel were deployed near the university to quell any protests. “We told the protesting students not to resort to any kind of violence,” said Deputy Commissioner of police (Madhapur Zone) A Venkateshwar Rao. “They can stage [protests] in a democratic and peaceful manner inside the campus and submit representation on their demands.”
In Uttar Pradesh’s city of Lucknow, students of Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama had planned to protest against the amended Citizenship Act but were stopped by the police from stepping outside the gates of the institution. This led to demonstrators throwing stones at the police guarding the gates. There were no reported injuries in the incident. Authorities at the seminary said it will remain closed till January 5, 2020.
Lucknow Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani said the stone-pelting episode lasted for a brief period, and the situation was brought under control soon. He said additional security forces were deployed at the institution to prevent untoward incidents.
Students at the Banaras Hindu University staged protests at the main gate of the campus in solidarity with Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University students. Protestors carried posters, banners and shouted slogans.
Meanwhile, at least 21 protestors – part of the agitation at Aligarh Muslim University – were arrested. “Named FIR has been lodged against 56 persons and others unidentified ones,” Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhary told PTI. “The process of getting the hostel vacated is on and 25% to 30% of students have left it, the rest are expected leave by [Monday] evening.”
Authorities at Aligarh Muslim University said at least 60 students were injured after the clashes broke out in the campus late on Sunday.
Students from Jadavpur University in Kolkata held protests against the police action on students. Protests were also organised at the Savitribai Phule Pune University with protestors carrying posters and pictures of Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh.
More than 100 students of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concerns over the police crackdown on students at Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University. “We stand in solidarity with students around the country protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019,” the statement reads. “We call upon you to not trample the democratic rights of citizens to peacefully protest an unjust law.”
The students condemned the police action and said that “non-violent civil disobedience is at the heart of our republic’s founding”, PTI reported. “We urge you to ensure that students can protest peacefully and that violence is not incited by anyone including custodians of state in positions of great authority and responsibility,” the letter read. The students clarified that they had written the statement in their personal capacity.
Students from three Indian Institutes of Technology – Kanpur, Madras and Bombay – also joined the protest against the police crackdown at Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University. Around 50 protestors were detained for protesting without permission outside the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Apart from students and a few faculty members of IIM-A, students of the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, and a few other institutions had taken part in the protests.
In Maharashtra’s city of Aurangabad, members of several student groups held a protest at the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, said Kunal Kharat, the president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen state students wing, according to PTI. A dozen students were detained, but were later released, police said.
Students from different colleges and groups of citizens in Madhya Pradesh also staged a protest in Bhopal’s Old City locality.