A month after Jamia violence, protesting students are in no mood to give up
Campus Politik

A month after Jamia violence, protesting students are in no mood to give up

They say their and other protests won’t cease until the citizenship law is rolled back

By Ismat Ara

Published on :

On Wednesday, students of Jamia Millia Islamia organised a programme called “Jamai Chalo” to mark a month of the police crackdown at the university. After a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act on December 15, the police had entered the campus without the administration’s permission, and beaten up and teargassed the students. One student, Minhajuddin, lost an eye during the brutal attack. 

Some protesters dressed up as injured students to recreate the scenes from December 15.

Amna Farooqi, a Jamia student who witnessed the December 15 crackdown, recounted, “What was supposed to be a peaceful students’ protest against the citizenship law turned into a battlefield outside the campus because the police decided to stop our protest. Soon after, the police lathicharged and used teargas on the protesting crowd, causing chaos. Vehicles were burnt. The police were angered and, in revenge mode, they entered our campus, our library, hostels, study hall, and started attacking us and vandalising university property. The fear that I felt that day is forever imprinted on my heart.”  

Jamia students perform during a street play. 

The Jamia Coordination Committee, which oversees the ongoing protest, released a statement on Wednesday, “The call for ‘Jamia Chalo’ has received overwhelming solidarity. The events of December 15, 2019 will not simply fade away from our memories. They have left unimaginable imprints on the minds, hearts and bodies of not just students of Jamia Millia Islamia, but people with a conscience across the world.”

A large number of women participated in ‘Jamia Chalo’. 

Some students said even a month after the police violence, they are still scared. “I have been coming to these protests everyday. I don’t want the events of December 15 to repeat again,” said Bushra, a student. “Even though we are protesting with all our might and are not letting any chaos occur, we are still scared that the police might attack us again anyday.”

Ziauddin Ahmad, a resident of Jamia Nagar, is a regular at the ongoing Jamia protest.

The fear is not restricted to students. Firoz Muzaffar, a parent of a Jamia student who studies engineering, said, “My son was not here when the violence happened but the students who have suffered are also somebody’s children. I can imagine their parents’ pain. Earlier, I wouldn’t allow my son and wife to go out much. But now they are both out there, protesting. It is necessary. Police se abb chidh ho gayi hai. Humari safety ke naam pe humare bachchon ko maar peet rahi hai.” I am annoyed with the police now. They are beating up our children in the name of our safety.

Portraits of Rohith Vemula and Najeeb Ahmad on the walls of Jamia Millia.

Graffiti on the walls of Jamia Millia.

Mohd Tauqeer Khan, a resident of Jamia Nagar, is a regular at the Jamia protest. He argued that until the Citizenship Amendment Act is rolled back, protests will not cease. “The whole country is tired of this religion-based division. Even our Hindu brothers who come here say the same thing,” he said. “Today, many Sikhs have joined us as well. It’s a collective fight.”

Graffiti on the walls of Jamia Millia. 

Ziauddin Ahmad, 75, another resident of Jamia Nagar, has been attending the Jamia protest in solidarity with the students. “What the police did with the students was wrong,” he said. “We are no longer scared of the police. We are not even scared of CAA anymore. We know it will be rolled back. It will have to.”

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