Over 10,000 students from institutes in and around Mumbai are heading to Delhi to join the protests at Jantar Mantar and India Gate today and tomorrow, being carried out in solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and dalit scholar Rohith Vemula. The slogan of the protest is “humein chahiye azaadi, hum cheen ke lenge” (We want freedom and we will take it forcibly).
Thousands will take part in Chalo Delhi (Let’s march to Delhi), organised by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice and Hyderabad Central University (HCU). Students from TISS, TIFR, Mumbai University, Nirmala Niketan, Siddharth College, Ambedkar College and other institutes will take part in it.
“Not just Mumbai, we have called upon students from across Maharashtra and even other states to join the rallies in Delhi. The government will now see the power of the community of students. They have always taken us for granted. Now, we will fight back for justice,” said a student from TISS.
JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested in a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy registered against him for allegedly staging a protest against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on the JNU campus. Allegedly, during the protest students shouted anti-India slogans.
Kanhaiya and 12 other students have been booked under Sections 124 A (Sedition), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and for unlawful assembly. The protest rally will start from Ambedkar Bhawan and head to Jantar Mantar at 11 am today. The participants will also take part in a candlelight march at the India Gate tomorrow.
Besides this, students of colleges in Mumbai have started an online petition from February 18 to support Justice for Rohith Vemula campaign and to demand the release of Kanhaiya Kumar. Students from over 25 colleges, including IIT Bombay, St Xavier’s, Mithibai, Jai Hind, Ruia and NMIMS, have signed a petition demanding immediate release of Kanhaiya. The petition has received over 800 signatures since its launch.
Meanwhile, some of the students will stage a protest near CST station on February 23. “Our protest will now include another issue — attack on Soni Sori, the tribal rights activist. Those who are not travelling to Delhi
will join in Mumbai,” said Ghanshyam Sonar, one of the protesters.