From the Supreme Court to Kolkata’s Esplanade, from Banaras Hindu University to IIT-Madras, the vortex of the amended Citizenship Act found resonance across the country on Monday, a day after police crackdown on students at Jamia Milia Islamia left over 100 people, including students, policemen and firefighters, injured.
Meanwhile, fresh protests erupted outside Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), with agitators raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and burning effigies.
The Sunday flareup in Jamia, which ended with a gathering at the old police headquarters at ITO, echoed in the political sphere as well, with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee leading a mega rally in the heart of Kolkata and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi holding a two-hour dharna at Delhi’s India Gate.
Here are the top developments of the day:
SC to hear pleas alleging police atrocities on students tomorrow
Taking strong note of the damage to public property during protests against the Citizenship law, the Supreme Court warned that it won’t hear the matter if “rioting and destruction of public property continues”. The apex court, however, agreed to hear on Tuesday petitions alleging police atrocities on students holding protests against the Act at the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Millia Islamia.
“We will take cognisance of the matter but not like this. We are not going to be bullied like this. What is this? Public property is being destroyed,” Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said. “Just because they happen to be students, it doesn’t mean they can take law and order in their hands, this has to be decided when things cool down. This is not the frame of mind when we can decide anything. Let the rioting stop,” the CJI insisted.
Jamia V-C seeks high-level probe into police atrocities
Condemning the Delhi Police’s crackdown against students, Jamia Millia Islamia University Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar Monday demanded a high-level probe into the incident. Stating that nearly 200 students have been injured, the V-C said that the atrocities against students, especially inside the library, was unacceptable.
Akhtar, however, said that the police crackdown has resulted in huge damage both in terms of the physical property and the emotional well-being of the students. She added that no student has died in the protest contrary to the media reports.
Protest spills over to other universities
Hundreds of students of different universities across the country staged a sit-in inside their campuses, protesting against the police action on their counterparts in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia. Students held protests at Jadavpur University in Kolkata with demands that the government take action against police “hooliganism”. There were demonstrations at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi too.
Students from three prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) — Kanpur, Madras, Bombay — joined the chorus against the police crackdown on the Jamia Millia Islamia and the Aligarh Muslim University students. At the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, students were seen carrying placards with pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar, condemning both the CAA as well as the police crackdown against students of Jamia Millia University on Sunday.
In Hyderabad, the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) Students’ Union decided to boycott the examinations. The University of Hyderabad student’s union demanded rollback of the CAA and sought strict action against Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police for their “assault” on campuses.
Students at Central University of Kerala, Kasargod and Pondicherry University boycotted classes. Others joining in included students from Patiala’s Punjab University, Patna University and Chennai’s Loyola College.
In Lucknow, incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Nadwa college, where students gathered in the hundreds shouting slogans like “Awaz do, hum ek hain” (call us we are all united) as police tried to control the situation. A heavy police force was deployed outside the campus. On incidents of stone-pelting in Lucknow’s Nadwatul Ulama college, DGP OP Singh told PTI, “Some students of Nadwatul Ulama here tried to protest and hurled stones from inside. They were prevented and no one is allowed to come outside the campus.” He added that no one was injured in the protest.
Mamata Banerjee takes out mega rally over Citizenship law, NRC
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took out a massive rally from Red Road to Jorasanko Thakur Bari, the residence of Rabindranath Tagore in north Kolkata, and vowed not to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC in Bengal.
“As long as I am alive, I will never implement the citizenship law or NRC in the state. You can dismiss my government or put me behind bars, but I will never implement this black law. I will protest democratically till this law is scrapped. If they want to implement it in Bengal they will have to do it over my dead body,” Banerjee said.
Oppn unites against Citizenship law, seeks probe into Jamia incident
Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Left and the RJD, united against the newly enacted contentious law and condemned the police action in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia on Sunday. While addressing a joint press conference, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kapil Sibal, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja, RJD’s Manoj Jha and JD-U’s Sharad Yadav demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Police can’t enter into university premises without the permission of Vice-Chancellor. If they weren’t permitted, how did police, which comes under Central govt, enter the campus? We condemn it. There should be a judicial inquiry.”
Priyanka Gandhi holds dharna at India Gate
Congress leaders, led by party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, held a sit-in at the India Gate in a show of solidarity with the protesting students from Jamia Millia Islamia. After the two-hour dharna, Priyanka Gandhi said the police crackdown on students of Jamia Millia Islamia on Sunday was an attack on the soul of India.
“This country is for everyone, it is for all those students who were beaten up yesterday. Attack on students is an attack on the soul of India,” she said. Priyanka said the citizenship amendment law was against India’s Constitution and that it was brought to “destroy” the Constitution.
Assam calm, Bengal sees sporadic violence in parts
In Assam, where the Citizenship Amendment Act, first ignited public fury, was largely calm, with curfew relaxed as people went about their lives almost normally. Some protesters and their leaders were detained in Guwahati and later released, while internet services were suspended for another 24 hours to prevent “misuse” of social media to disturb peace, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, protests spilled over to a fourth day in West Bengal, where highways and railway lines were blocked and incidents of arson and loot reported from many places in West Bengal. Trains between West Bengal and the Northeast came to a halt, with the railways suspending all services to the northern region of the state.
Also, as many as 17 Odisha-bound trains were cancelled on Monday due to stir in West Bengal. Several other trains have also been partially cancelled.
PM Modi: Damage to public property never been part of our ethos
Condemning the ongoing violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in various parts of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said that such agitations are “unfortunate and deeply distressing”.
Violent protests on the Citizenship Amendment Act are unfortunate and deeply distressing.
Debate, discussion and dissent are essential parts of democracy but, never has damage to public property and disturbance of normal life been a part of our ethos.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 16, 2019
In a series of tweets, PM Modi tweeted, “Violent protests on the Citizenship Amendment Act are unfortunate and deeply distressing. Debate, discussion and dissent are essential parts of democracy but, never has damage to public property and disturbance of normal life been a part of our ethos.”
In Kerala, LDF-UDF close ranks against citizenship law
The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) and other non-BJP parties in Kerala closed ranks Monday against the amended Citizenship Act by taking part in a ‘satyagraha’ outside the martyr’s column in Thiruvananthapuram.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala led the charge against the Centre over the Citizenship law. “As protests intensify across the country, this gathering sends out a message to the world that Kerala is united against the citizenship law. We, the people of Kerala, have always been the model in such cases. This is a land where people live as siblings without caste or religious discrimination,” he said.
Sonia Gandhi: Modi govt has started a war on country and its people
Attacking the BJP-led NDA government over the crackdown on university students and Citizenship law protesters, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi said the Narendra Modi government has started a war on the country and its people.
In a statement, Gandhi said, “A government’s work is to maintain peace and harmony, to run law and order and save protect the Constitution. But the BJP government has launched an attack on the country and its people.”
“Modi government has itself become a mother of violence and partition. The government has pushed the country into the pit of blind hatred and it is burning the future of the youngsters. If the people sitting in power themselves incite violence, attack the Constitution, beat the youth of the country ruthlessly, flagging of law, then how will this country run?” she said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines