St Stephen’s College students boycott classes to protest CAA, NRC and JNU attacks; first such demonstration since 1990
The St Stephens College in Delhi joined other institutions in showing solidarity with other students in condemning the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday.
The students were seen carrying placards and shouting slogans during the protest. Some of them even read the Preamble of the Constitution.
The protesters also opposed the Citizenship (amendment) Act or CAA passed by Parliament last month. According to a Twitter handle being run by Stephens alumni, it was very rare for the students of the college to boycott class and protest.
Students all across the country have come out against the amended citizenship law which seeks to fast-track citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from the three neighbouring countries of India – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The law takes into account six religious minorities, except Muslims.
The students and other civil society groups are protesting against the government move which they say makes religion the ground for granting citizenship, and that it threatens India’s Muslims. They are demanding the law be scrapped, but the government – especially Home Minister Amit Shah who piloted the bill – has said it won’t go back on the decision.
The government maintains that there is nothing for India’s Muslims to be afraid of, and has launched campaigns to tell the people about the provisions of the new law.
The protests turned violent at some of the universities, like Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, and many students were injured. Jamia students were carrying out a march against CAA last month which turned violent and some vehicles were torched. The Delhi Police then entered the Jamia campus and detained some outsiders – action which was widely slammed by political parties.
In JNU, a meeting was on between the teachers’ association and students on Sunday when a masked mob entered the campus and started thrashing people. More than 30 students, including JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh, was injured in the attack.
The Delhi Police is investigating the case and is scanning CCTV footages for clues. No arrests have been made so far.