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Monday, January 20, 2020

Day ends with fresh protest in heart of Delhi

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, CPI’s D Raja, Congress’s Kirti Azad and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar were among the protesters, which included students from JNU and Delhi University.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: December 16, 2019 4:56:43 pm
Day ends with fresh protest in heart of city Outside the old PHQ at ITO. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

Raising slogans like “Dilli Police Jamia chhodo” and “Amit Shah isteefa do”, hundreds of students, teachers and civil society members gathered at the old police headquarters at ITO Sunday night to protest against police action at Jamia Millia Islamia earlier in the day.

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, CPI’s D Raja, Congress’s Kirti Azad and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar were among the protesters, which included students from JNU and Delhi University.

Editorial | At great cost

Protesters blocked the road outside the PHQ and climbed atop barricades holding portraits of Gandhi and Ambedkar. Around 11.15 pm, water cannons were brought in to break up the protest.

“Is it possible for someone to enter a university without the permission of the home minister?… We are not supportive of violent protest but police action is unacceptable. We demand that Jamia be freed of police presence and action be taken against those responsible,” said Karat.

Raja condemned the “brutal action” by police: “We cannot accept CAB and we cannot accept the violence on students. The government should apologise and take action against the police.”

Chandrashekhar voiced his support for the protest. “Our brothers and sisters have been beaten, we are here to support them. We don’t accept this black law and police and CRPF should leave campus… If students are fighting for justice in the campus, why does Delhi Police have an issue with that?” he said.

Civil society members had also come to express their outrage. Environmentalist Bhavreen Kandhari was holding a poster saying “I’m a mother, I support students”. “If you see those videos, police have gone inside the campus. If buses are burnt, it’s wrong but they cannot enter a college and start dragging girls. I’ve come here not only as a citizen but as mother of twin daughters aged 16 who will soon be in college. I’m fighting for their future,” she said.

Filmmaker Nakul Singh Sawhney said, “The way the police and government are cracking down is scary. This government has been going after students like they are terrorists… The message being given is that this is no longer a democracy.”

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said "water cannons were used to break up the protest". Water cannons were brought in but not used. It has been updated to reflect the same.

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