A day after nationwide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), as part of which the city’s August Kranti Maidan saw an overwhelming outpour of protesters, students of various educational institutions on Friday decided to come together under one banner to protest against the law.
Students of TISS, IIT-Bombay, Mumbai University and other educational institutions, along with representatives of political parties, have now come together under the banner Joint Action Committee for Social Justice. They plan to hold a protest on December 27, which will start from Byculla around 2 pm and end at CSMT. The members of the committee will meet at Ambedkar Bhavan in Dadar East on Saturday evening to discuss the new law.
“We will take to the streets like we had done after Rohith Vemula passed away. We don’t want any speeches. This rally will be dominated by students,” said student activist Fahad Ahmed.
Office-bearers of TISS student union were seen participating in different events to create awareness about CAA on Friday. Union president Bhatta Ram and vice-president Tawnsuanlal Vale attended an event organised by Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, and shared dias with Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar.
“Even at the time of Independence, Tripura had 50 per cent of indegenious population. Now, the current demography comprises only 30 per cent of indegenious population. Their language Kokborok is on the verge of extinction,” Vale said.
“The fight in the Northeast, and even more so in Assam, has never been one of xenophobia or hate for any community on the basis of religion, it has been one to protect its culture and identity, which has always had diversity,” he added.
Speaking at an event ‘Still we resist’ at Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre, TISS student union general secretary Aisha Abdul Kader V said, “There is one more aspect of this law that we should take note of. By specifying only three countries, it ignores the most persecuted refugees in our country — the Rohingyas and Sri Lankan Tamils. We all know about the Rohingyan situation. After the Rohingyas, Sri Lankan Tamils make up the largest refugee group.”
“It is our duty to fight and also bring more people into the fight against the madness that is being perpetrated by this cow dung loving, fake news peddling government. If we don’t, history will judge us harshly for not doing our best in preventing the collapse of secular democracy and birth of a nightmare that is a regressive, communal and anti-democratic Hindu Rashtra,” she added.
TISS Teacher’s Association (TISS-TA) has condemned the atrocities faced by the students and the CAA. Over 20 faculty members were present at the August Kranti Maidan on Thursday even as a circular issued by the TISS administration said, “TISS being an institute funded by the Government of India, the staff and faculty cannot join any form of protest while on duty. This is against the Conduct Rules and their absence from duty to join the protest will be treated as unauthorised.”
Responding to the circular, TISS-TA president Bal Rakshase said, “We are aware of these rules and had either applied a casual or half day leave to be present at the protest. The circular was simply a reminder. Apart from the circular, we have not received any other communication from the administration. We will continue to support the students and will be a part of future protests.”
The association’s has over 150 faculties as members, of which, nearly 90 have supported the students through signatures and support mails.
Unlike TISS, there has been no mobilization of faculties on this issue in IIT-B. “We haven’t neither discussed the issue nor have we received any communication from the administration. But some of us were present in our individual capacity at the protests,” said a faculty member.
On the lack of participation by the MU administration, a faculty member said, “We want to keep things apolitical and focus on teaching.”
Meanwhile, a few members of ABVP held a demonstration at MU’s Kalina campus in support of CAA. “ABVP appeals to every Indian to maintain peace. Students of Mumbai University stand with the Citizenship Amendment Act,” spokesperson Pranjal Mishra said.
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