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Friday, February 28, 2020

Weeks after campus was stormed, Jamia is fighting back — with some street art

Since then, the area outside the university has become ground zero for protests against the new citizenship law and a proposed national register of citizens, with many calling it 'Jamia Square', reminiscent of Tahrir Square which was the focal point of the 2011 Egypt revolution.

Written by Shivam Patel | New Delhi | Updated: January 4, 2020 12:01:50 pm
jamia street art, citizenship amendment act protest, CAA protest, NRC protest, jamia violence, jamia library, indian express news Outside Jamia Milia Islamia campus, where protests against the new citizenship act have been on for three weeks. (Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Three weeks ago, police personnel armed with lathis charged after protesters inside gate 4 of Jamia Millia Islamia, allegedly landing blows on students in the library.

Since then, the area outside the university has become ground zero for protests against the new citizenship law and a proposed national register of citizens, with many calling it ‘Jamia Square’, reminiscent of Tahrir Square which was the focal point of the 2011 Egypt revolution.

The campus and Metro pillars along Okhla road are now painted with graffiti denouncing CAA and NRC, and with words of solidarity with protesters. On Friday, Shaziah Shamim and her friends from the university began painting an artwork on a section of the road in front of gate 4.

The campus and Metro pillars along Okhla road are now painted with graffiti denouncing CAA and NRC, and with words of solidarity with protesters. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

“Our Constitution is being destroyed,” said the 26-year-old vfx and animation student at Jamia, who has been making artwork on campus ever since protests started.

A section of the road starting from gate 4 is cordoned off for traffic and is painted with political artwork, which artists began making Thursday afternoon. One of them is a painting of a Rs 500 note in which the Prime Minister is seen leading a group of men and women in blindfolds on an uphill road as teargas shells fall from the sky. Words below say, “My country, my Constitution,” and “Acche din aa gaye?”

Mir Shaz Ali (19) saw the artworks while passing through Jamia Thursday and came to draw one himself with his brother on Friday.

Weeks after campus was stormed, Jamia is fighting back — with some street art Mir Shaz Ali (19) saw the artworks while passing through Jamia Thursday and came to draw one himself with his brother on Friday. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

His painting was of a black hole pulling the earth towards it. Words below said, “CAA and NRC, the black hole of our country.”

“My idea is, make space for everyone,” Ali said.

The 19-year-old completed schooling from Patna in 2018 and is currently living with his family in Delhi. He is preparing to appear for a SAT exam to study astronautical engineering in the United States.

“Remove the Hindu-Muslim narrative of the CAA and NRC and you will see it is bad for the economy too. There’s so much unemployment; who will provide jobs to people who will be granted citizenship?” Ali said.

Weeks after campus was stormed, Jamia is fighting back — with some street art Farheen Zaidi (20), a fine arts student at Jamia, wrote slogans on placards and distributed them among protesters. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Farheen Zaidi (20), a fine arts student at Jamia, wrote slogans on placards and distributed them among protesters. On Thursday, she along with her friends painted a stretch of road in front of the university with an artwork showing the Home Minister driving a crane through the Constitution.

“This is to show how the country and the Constitution are being destroyed,” she said.
Zaidi has earlier made artwork on legal and social issues as part of her assignments. “The artwork will help the protests move forward,” she said.

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