New Delhi, Dec 16
Students across India took to streets demanding a probe into the use of teargas inside university’s library as well as police entering the campus without permission from the authorities
Unrest over the police crackdown in Delhi’s Jamia Miiia Islamia and the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act rippled in angry waves through the country on Monday with demonstrations in several campuses, including in Hyderabad, Lucknow and Mumbai.
The morning after violence broke out in the National capital, thousands of students across India took to the streets demanding a probe into the use of teargas inside the Jamia library as well as police entering the campus without permission from university authorities.
'Will not tolerate police presence on campus'
Jamia Millia Islamia Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar on Monday asserted that the varsity will not tolerate police presence on campus and demanded a high-level inquiry into the crackdown on university students.
“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 here.
“We will file FIR on damage of property and police action on students, we want high level inquiry. I will present facts to the HRD Minister,” she added.
Akhtar said the University should not be targeted and its image should not be maligned.
Protests by Delhi University students
Several Delhi University students boycotted exams and held a protest outside the Arts Faculty in North Campus to express their solidarity with the movement. They said they will gather at India Gate on Monday evening.
Sources said students from the English department of the varsity had written to their Professors on Sunday night to postpone exams owing to the situation in Jamia but their request could not be considered.
A source said the students were told that since the exams are at the fag end a decision on their postponement was not possible. Also, the varsity can only take a call to postpone exams and not the respective department, the sources said.
At the Delhi University, students alleged that police cracked down on peacefully protesting students who boycotted exams.
However, a senior police officer said some students were stopping others from taking exams and police were there keeping a watch.
“We were at the campus just to keep a watch as some students were stopping others from taking exams,” said Monika Bhardwaj, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North).
The officer also added that no student was detained and that they did not use force on anyone.
Students of Political Science Department boycotted exams in solidarity with Jamia students.
“I am the only one who has been detained at Maurice Nagar Police Station. There was a group of 60-70 students who were protesting outside the Arts Faculty against police action on Jamia students,” Abhigyan, a student of Ramjas College claimed.
At ground zero of the student movement, a group of Jamia students stood shirtless in the bone-chilling cold of a Delhi morning to protest the action against their colleagues on Sunday.
Several students were seen leaving for home but the anger simmered. Slogans of “inquilab zindabad” were heard and about 10 students, accompanied by their fellow colleagues, took out a small march, demanding a CBI inquiry into the “police brutality”.
As a few women escorted an injured student to narrate their ordeal to the media, some people were seen asking them not to give any statements.
“We were inside the university when the police barged in. Around 20 policemen came from gate no 7 and 50 others came from the rear gate. We told them we were not involved in the violence. They didn’t listen. They didn’t even spare women,” Khanzala, who suffered injuries to his legs and abdomen, said.
A woman broke down as Khanzala showed his injuries to the media.
Protests in Lucknow
In Lucknow’s Nadwa College, students gathered in hundreds shouting slogans like “Awaz do, hum ek hain” (call us we are all united) as police tried to control the situation.
“Some students of the Nadwatul Ulama here tried to protest and hurled stones from inside. They were prevented and no one is allowed to come outside the campus,” said Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh.
Protests in Hyderabad and Varanasi
In Hyderabad’s Maulana Azad Urdu University, students held a protest march post midnight in solidarity with the Jamia students and demanded that their exams be postponed.
There were angry demonstrations at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi and at the Jadavpur University in Kolkata with demands that the Government take action against police “hooliganism”.
“Crackdown is a very small word to be used for what happened in Jamia yesterday. This is clear hooliganism. Videos of policemen smashing bikes and beating students are all over social media. The Government must fix accountability for this,” said a PhD student at BHU.’
“Teargas inside a closed compound”
Ridhima Dua, a Jadavpur University student, asked how teargas could be used inside a closed compound.
“If I am molested on a street and go to police to file a complaint I will be told about norms. Where are the norms now? How can teargas be used inside a closed compound? How can policemen just barge into the university without any permission from Vice Chancellor? There has to be a probe in this,” she said.
Protests in Mumbai
Students from the Tata Insitute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai also protested on the streets shouting slogans such as “Shame on Delhi Police”.
Three IITs join the protests
Students from three prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) joined the chorus against the police crackdown on the Jamia Millia Islamia and the Aligarh Muslim University students.
The premiere institutions -- IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras and IIT Bombay -- are not the regular ones to join protests and usually stay away from agitations.
“They struck down the students’ retaliation at Jadavpur University. We didn’t respond. They hiked the MTech fee, we didn’t respond. Manhandled the student protesters at JNU, we didn’t respond. And now its JMI and AMU. Our commitment towards the students’ community is under huge jeopardy if we don’t respond now. Therefore let’s come together for a campus wide march in solidarity with students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University,” a poster by students from IIT Kanpur read.
The students have called for a campus-wide march on Tuesday.
Similarly, students of IIT-Madras announced a rally and protest gathering at the Gajendra Circle on the campus.
Students of IIT-Bombay had protested on Sunday night after the crackdown at the two universities.
Protests in Aligarh Muslim University
The first to join the movement against the violence in Jamia were students from the Aligarh University University (AMU) where there were clashes with the police late night on Sunday in which at least 60 students were injured.
After the protest, the administration announced closure of the university till January 5 and students have been asked to evacuate the hostels.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the State Government was committed to provide security to every citizen of the State. “For this, it is necessary that everyone follows the law. Nobody will be allowed to disturb the atmosphere of peace in the State,” he said.
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students joined their compatriots in Jamia outside the police headquarters at Delhi’s ITO on Sunday night to protest the alleged police assault on students at the Jamia campus earlier in the day.
The University turned into a battlefield on Sunday as police entered the campus and also used force, following protest against the Act.