December 28, 2019 8:13:37 am
MAINTAINING THAT protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) were being held not for the people of a particular community but to save the Constitution, former president of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Students’ Union, Dr Maskoor Ahmad Usmani, on Friday said movement has turned into a pan India affair.
Speaking to The Indian Express during an anti-CAA protest at Azad Maidan, Usmani said: “I am here in Mumbai to protest as anti-CAA and NRC protests are now a pan India movement. We are continuously travelling. I have been to Haryana, Gurgaon, Delhi NCR and Mewat. Tomorrow, I will go to Bihar, followed by Jharkhand.”
“This movement is not for the people of a particular community but to save the Constitution. The CAA violates articles 10, 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution, which do not discriminate between two people on any ground. We have stayed back (in India) because we want our country to be secular. Those who wanted to be in an Islamic country have gone to Pakistan.”
On December 16, a group of students had gathered at the Bab-e-Syed gate of AMU to protest against the police assault against Jamia Milia Islamia students in Delhi. Within an hour, the protest had taken a violent turn. The police had alleged that students had pelted them with stones, following which tear gas shells were fired and the protesters lathicharged. Soon after, AMU had declared early winter vacations and asked students to vacate hostels, leaving many students from Kashmir and Northeast with no place to go.
“The campus was vacated on December 16 itself and will remain so till January 5. The vice-chancellor had asked the police to enter the campus, following which the students were made to forcefully leave. Students from the Northeast, Kashmir and West Bengal were abruptly asked to go home within 12 hours of the protest. Flights to Kashmir were inoperational due to bad weather and roads blocked due to snowfall. The students had nowhere to go,” said Usmani, who had attended the Jamia protest on December 15.
He added that the movement is being sustained by non-resident AMU students, who have demanded judicial inquiry into the police action. “The police have slapped 35 FIRs against students… At least 3,500 students have been booked”.
Asked if he expected the AMU protest to provoke such nationwide response, Usmani said: “This movement against CAA and NRC was started by students in Jamia and AMU. Earlier, the issue was confined to the Northeast, as Internet was shut there, media was not allowed to report much and also owing to its distance from Delhi.”
“Central universities like Jamia and AMU took the initial steps and the government started the attack by lathis. Students were attacked brutally, taken in police custody and detained. Bullets were fired in the campus. They thought they would curb this movement by hitting students but we didn’t expect the movement to pick up,” he added. Usmani said the protests would continue till CAA was withdrawn.
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