On Monday, Communist Party of India leader Kanhaiya Kumar fired up hundreds of supporters in Purnia, Bihar, as he led them through the famous “azadi” chant that has become his signature, critising the police atrocities against students of New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University and the Aligarh Muslim University on Sunday.

The rally had been called to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. Critics say that the two measures will result in India’s Muslims being discriminated against.

On the evening of December 15 Delhi Police had stormed the campus of Jamia University after peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act turned violent in the national capital. Similar police action was also reported from AMU and Delhi University. Colleges and universities across the country erupted in protests in solidarity with the students of Jamia University.

The chant is a variation of a set of slogans popularised by feminist Kamla Bhasin and has its origins in a verse she heard at a conference in Pakistan.

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