A private university in Ahmedabad has sought an undertaking from students that they will refrain from participating in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. Nirma University’s Institute of Law also advised parents to “counsel” their children.
A protest against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens was attended by students on December 17 outside the Gandhi Ashram. Around five students were asked to give the undertaking after they were identified by the university using pictures published by local newspapers.
Activists of the Young India National Coordination Committee and the Campaign against CAA-NRC-NPA on Wednesday shared the screenshots of texts messages purportedly sent by the university to the parents of the students, reported PTI.
“Dear parents, greetings from Institute of Law, Nirma University,” the message read. “It has come to our knowledge that your ward was involved in protest against recent issues. The police and Intelligence Bureau-IB have taken details of your ward from us. We at our end have counselled the students to refrain from any such activities and we also expect the support from your side. This is also to inform you that if your ward continues to participate in the protest, the police might create a record against him.”
Dean of Student Affairs, Ashish Desai, told the newspaper they took an undertaking. “How can they protest in the name of Nirma University,” he asked. “They used the letterhead of Nirma Institute of Law Student Activity Association.”
However, another student protestor identified as Abhishek Khandelwal, denied that the university’s name was used in the protest. “We did not participate in the protest under the name of the university but in our individual capacity,” he said.
The activists in a statement demanded the authorities to retract the messages sent to students and their parents. They urged them to not intimidate and harass students for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11 and signed into law by President Ram Nath Kovind the following day, provides Indian citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have entered the country on or before December 31, 2014. However, it excludes Muslims from its scope, which has led to the Act being labelled anti-Muslim and unconstitutional.