Research Scholar, Jamia Millia Islamia
In a democratic country like India people enjoy the freedom of expression adhering to the Constitution. Article 19 (1)(b) guarantees to all the citizens of India the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. This includes the right to hold meetings and to take out processions. When the unconstitutional law CAB was passed in both the houses of the parliament, people from different corners of the country came out to oppose it. Widespread protests broke out across India only because of the fact that the newly enacted law will provide citizenship to selected minority communities Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Buddhist and Jain coming from three neighbouring countries Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have suffered religious persecution there. India is a democratic country and no one can be discriminated on the basis of religion, caste, creed and colour. We welcome all the people who have suffered religious persecution there but the question is, why from these three countries only? Muslims and Hindus in Myanmar and Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka have gone through the same pain. Atheist in Bangladesh and Shia and Ahmadiyah sects of Pakistan have the same story of religious hatred against them. Indian tradition of generosity has not been so niggard. Why the protective umbrella of law leaves them out? This law is definitely an assault on the very foundational values of the Indian Constitution. Just because a political party has majority in both the houses of the parliament it can not pass the law which hurts the soul of our country. Amit Shah has repeatedly made it clear that the CAA will be implemented in conjunction with NRC. It has created doubts and added more fuel to the fire. This has provoked fear not only in Muslim community but also in Dalit. No doubt, by this twin pincer operation Muslims will be made more vulnerable than any other communities, as for non-muslims left out from the NRC they will be saved on the basis of the CAA.
But at first, we all, without any exception, are supposed to prove our citizenship. This is nothing but a joke with the people of India. As per 2011 census, 30 crore people are landless, 70 lakh people are homeless, 8 crore and 43 lakh people are tribals. It will not be easy for them to prove their citizenship due to lack of required documents. So if they fail to bring the documents and they happened to be non-muslims they will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. But unfortunately, if they are Muslims they will not be considered as Indian and no citizenship will be given to them as per the new Law. They will be sent to detention centre. So directly or indirectly it is the Muslim who is going to suffer and it is the Muslim who is being asked to prove their citizenship. This is nothing but divisive and discriminatory step of the Government. This is against the preamble of the Constitution which talks about liberty, equality and fraternity. This law clearly denies the Muslim’s right. This law singles out one particular religion, Islam, for particularly spiteful treatment.
Knowing the fact and dirty political intention behind this discriminatory law, Jamia’s revolutionary students organised a peaceful protest to fight against injustice, inequality and sacrilege of the cherished values of our freedom fighters. I was also part of the protest. Students were protesting on M.A Jauhar Road near Maulana Abul Kalam Azad gate. Some students inside the university gate, some outside and many were just mute spectators. Around 4 pm the protest was called off and I returned back to library. There was no news of scuffle and stone pelting till I was there. It was a completely peaceful protest.
I don’t know who were there at the Mathura Road and near Gurdwara where the clash erupted and buses were set on fire. Initially, Jamia students were blamed but recently a report was published stating that Jamia students were not involved in the violent protest. I condemn the violence, there is no place for violence in the protest. I don’t have any sympathy for those who love to throw stones.
Whatever happened at Mathura Road is extremely unacceptable and disturbing. No one knows who set the buses and vehicles on fire. The distance between Jamia Millia Islamia and Mathura Road is about 3 km. I don’t understand why the police came to Jamia following local protestors? And if they came to Jamia why they entered the campus without any prior permission? Protestors near Mathura Road were already dispersed by the police. So why they had to use brute force inside the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia.
I can not forget the horrific night when our University was brutally attacked by the Central Government-led Delhi Police. It was so terrible that even today I haven’t fully recovered from the traumas suffered on that black Sunday night. The Police entered the campus and started beating the students mercilessly whomsoever came in their way. Jamia Old library is close to the main gate, many students including girls were reading there as their exams were at hand. The Police entered the library abusing the retired Army Jawan security personnel who tried to stop them. They did not show any respect to them. They unleashed the utmost brutality on students. I saw students lying inside bathroom with their hands and legs fractured. Students were bleeding. Girls were crying. Police then entered the reading section of new library throwing tear gases. It was so sudden that no one could understand the situation. Students were running from Pillar to post to hide, leaving their bags and laptops. Books were scattered on the floor. There was a chaotic and traumatic situation inside the library.
There were fearful screams of girls and boys. It was difficult to breathe due to suffocation. I don’t know how I managed to escape.
Whatever I witnessed, I cannot put it on paper. I cannot sketch the fearful faces of girls that I saw helplessly. I cannot write the frightened voices and screams of my juniors. I cannot write the inhuman treatment meted out to students inside the campus. I am unable to understand how can police be so inimical to students? Delhi Police has been used apparently as a tool to spread violence inside the campus. The police not only beat the students, they were breaking each and everything in their way. They vandalised the entrance gate of Zakir Hussain Library, window glasses, chairs and tables were broken, laptops and mobile were crushed, books were scattered. They Smashed the parked vehicles with lathis. The Police can be seen hitting motorcycles in a video photographed clandestinely. This clearly shows that the destruction was done by none other than the Police. Many students were treated like terrorist, they were asked to walk out from library raising their hands. It was done to terrorise students so that they don’t dare to ask questions. But see, what happened next, more students came out on the road. Modi Government now should understand that our voices can not be forcibly suppressed. Our will and voices are much stronger than all the lathis, tear gases and pellet guns in its arsenal.