New Delhi: Students in campuses in multiple cities across the country have come out in support of their counterparts at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University after Sunday evening’s violence over the new citizenship law.
The police have been accused of using excessive force during student protests that turned violent at the two universities. The Supreme Court today said the “rioting” must stop and there should be peace, responding to request to take note of police action on students.
The top court will hear the case tomorrow. The police barged into the Jamia campus, rounded up students and detained 100. They were accused of beating and abusing students. The Jamia students were released early this morning after a massive show of strength by students outside the Delhi Police Headquarters all through the night.
Protests by students and others have erupted across the country over the new citizenship law that makes it easier for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to become Indian citizens. Critics say the law discriminates against Muslims and is against secular principles of the constitution.
Students threw stones at the police who kept them shut within the gates as a massive protest erupted at a university in Lucknow. Hundreds of students of the Nadwa university pushed against the main gates as the cops kept the gates firmly shut.
Sunday’s police crackdown on the students has triggered protests at several colleges, including IIT-Mumbai and IIT-Madras. Students of Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) boycotted classes today in solidarity with the Jamia and AMU students and gathered on the campus for a peaceful protest. Students of Mumbai University too planned protests.
A group of Jamia Millia students stood shirtless in the bone-chilling cold outside the university gates this morning protest against the police action on the students.
In other parts of the country, students of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru, Banaras Hindu University in Uttar Pradesh and Chandigarh University have planned protests against the amended Citizenship Act.
Lawyers Indira Jaising and Colin Gonsalves requested the top court to look into the violence against students and send retired judges to the two universities to investigate what went down. Ms Jaising called it a “serious human rights violation“.
Around midnight, students at Hyderabad’s Maulana Azad Urdu University and the Banaras Hindu University held protest marches. At Kolkata’s Jadavpur University, the students held a midnight march through the neighbourhood. Students of the Maulana Azad Urdu University also demanded that their exams be postponed.
The trouble started Sunday evening after a protest march by the Jamia students ended in a pitched battle with the police, vandalism and torching of vehicles. The police, which used batons and teargas to contain the violence, later barged into the university and detained around 100 students. All the detained students were released around 3:30 am.
Hundreds gathered outside the Police Headquarters in Delhi in response to a call from the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Authorities in Uttar Pradesh have snapped internet access in western parts of the state following violent clashes in Aligarh, home to Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). Students at the university clashed with the police, prompting university officials to close AMU till January 5.