With protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) sweeping campuses across the country, Onmanorama talked to several students from different universities in Delhi, Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Shillong and other parts of India to know their views on the controversial law.
The reactions we received clearly indicate that the student community is boiling with anger and they believe that CAA is an attack on India's Constitution. Moreover, it seems the students are a determined lot to continue with their agitation.
Here are the voices from the campuses:
Jamia Millia University
Raisul Aslam, president of the North-East Students Association at Jamia Millia University in Delhi, where the protest took a violent turn, claimed on Tuesday that the cops brutally assaulted students without any reason.
He told Onmanorama on phone the police entered the campus and fired ‘expired’ tear-gas shells on the students (Onmanorama could not independently verify his allegation about the 'expired' shells being fired). He also alleged that the cops entered the mosque on the campus and beat up the Imam and the students who were praying. The girls were also not spared from the brutality.
“As an Assamese and a student of Jamia, I am heartbroken. My Assam is burning, my Jamia is burning and I oppose CAA and will continue to do so,” he added.
English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
Students of English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, also joined the protest. With the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments taking a stance against the CAA, protests in places like Hyderabad did not witness any police brutality.
“Fascism is engulfing the country and we should, and we are, fighting against it,” said a student from EFLU. “We hold peaceful protests because the eyes of the country should be on the issue and not on the spectacle,” another student said. Students away from the campus on vacation are also taking part in the protests with the help of social media. Students were also seen reading out the Preamble to the Constitution as a sign of protest at various places.
Pondicherry University also saw massive protests with thousands of students gathering in front of the varsity.
Saithu Mohammed, a Muslim Students Federation representative, told Onmanorama that the central government is wrong if it thinks that it scared the Muslim community by passing the bill. “Instead, they have been strengthened further to resist and fight fascism,” he added.
Students Federation of India (SFI) conducted a separate protest rally and burned the draft copies of the CAA. “We will not tolerate the communal propaganda of Sangh Parivar. We appeal the student community to join in large numbers to defeat divisive politics,” SFI activist Viswajith Vinod told Onmanorama. The Pondicherry students also burned the effigy of Union minister Amit Shah. An FIR was filed by Pondicherry police against the student leaders and 40 unidentified persons.