New Delhi: A nation shocked by the violence against protesting students at Jamia Millia Islami (JMI) university stood to protest with best means possible, led by students of at least 22 varsities across India, joined by the opposition parties, civil society, legal bodies, and the general public on Monday.
The nation-wide prot-ests were led by the brave students of Jamia Millia, and joined by professors and parents, a day after facing police brutality. Scores of students, inclu-ded women students, once again took to the streets outside the Unive-rsity, braving a freezing cold, to protest the police action against their fellow students. Local residents and guardians also came out in support of protesting students.
Protests were reported from students of universities, besides those in Delhi, from Chandigarh, Lucknow, Patna, Guwa-hati, Kolkotta, Aligarh, Varanasi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pudicherry.
Several Delhi Univer-sity students boycotted exams and held protests outside the Arts Faculty in North Campus to express solidarity with Jamia students, even as a large number of police personnel were deployed by authorities to prevent any flare up. Carrying a tricolour, students clap-ped and raised slogans against the central government and Delhi police during the protests. Some students live-streamed their protest through Tw-itter, Facebook and other social media platforms.
As many as 50 detained Jamia students were released even as the situation in the campus remained tense, with scores of hostel students leaving for home. After days of protest against the Act, the University had on Saturday announced vacation till January 5 and cancelled all exams.
Agitated students, some of them shirtless, protested outside the gates of JMI university. Slogans of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ rent the air as students took out a march, demanding a CBI inquiry into the alleged “police brutality”.
'I feel unsafe in my campus and want to head home', said Umar Ashraf, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, as he stood outside one of the gates of the varsity holding a banner, ‘Not safe in my university’.
Ashraf is one of the thousand students who is leaving the university campus following the police action on students on Sunday, in which they entered the campus and allegedly lathicharged students and used tear-gas shells.
“I feel unsafe in my campus and want to head home,” a student of Jamia said, as he stood outside one of the gates of the varsity holding a banner, ‘Not safe in my university’.
The protesting students were joined by parents and other supporters. Saira Bano, 55, whose two children study in the university, said “no mother would tolerate atrocities being inflicted on students of Jamia.”
Many students, who spoke did not wish to be identified, said they were scared of the situation prevailing in the university. A student, who was packing her bags to leave for home in UP, said, “My parents saw the horrific visuals on television on Sunday night about buses being torched and the subsequent police action on students. They asked me to immediately return home.”
University Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar demanded a high-level inquiry into the police action on Sunday. Vice-Chancellor asserted that the university would not tolerate police presence on campus. She made it clear that the Jamia administration would not allow any political person to visit the university and will only coordinate with the HRD Ministry.
“Police entered the campus without permission. We will not tolerate police presence on campus. They scared our students with police brutality. There has been huge damage to university property,” Akhtar said at a press conference. “We will file a complaint on damage of property and police action on students. We want a high-level inquiry. I will present facts to the HRD Minister. I have already spoken to the HRD secretary and briefed him about the situation,” she added.
The Congress, which has been opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act in Parliament and outside, lead the protests. In a statement, Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused the Modi government of being “creator of violence and divisiveness”, which has declared a war against its own people.
Congress leaders, led by party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra held a dharna at India Gate in solidarity with the students protesting against the amended Citizenship Act. Sources say that Ms Vadra wanted to visit the Jamia Millia Islamia to show solidarity with students. However, permission was not given by authorities.
Vadra sat in protest in solidarity with JMI and AMU students, who faced brutal police action. Ms Vadra, accompanied by Ahmed Patel, KC Venugopal, Sushmita Dev, JD Tytler and over 300 workers held placards. Vadra was seen holding a placard, ‘Stop attacks on young students’.