CAA protests in Madras Univ; varsity declares holiday

Last Updated 17 December 2019, 21:29 IST

To quell raging protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act by students inside campuses, the University of Madras and Central University in Thiruvarur have advanced their Christmas vacation by a week.

High drama was witnessed at the Chepauk campus of the University of Madras on Tuesday evening, as students refused to call off their protests despite the administration announcing holiday from Wednesday. The students, who began their agitation in the morning, continued their protest till the time of writing, demanding that police release two students who were detained.

Police sources said Karthikeyan and Subbiah were picked up police as they were asking students from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, who held a separate protest on the Marina Beach, to come to their campus. “They were taken just for questioning,” a police officer said.

A little after 7 pm, police entered the campus and held talks with students asking them to vacate the premises but in vain. The students remained adamant that they will not leave the campus till their colleagues are released.

While the Central University remained closed from Tuesday, the University of Madras here will close for Christmas holidays from Wednesday – a week before they were to break classes for vacation. The former had earlier declared vacation from December 24, while the latter was to close from December 25 till January 1 for year-end holidays.

As hundreds of students protested against CAA inside and outside the Chepauk campus, the administration of the University of Madras called for an urgent meeting and decided to advance the Christmas holidays.

“The decision was taken due to continuing protests by students. The institution will reopen on January 2 for classes,” a source in the varsity told DH.

The Central University in Thiruvarur had on Monday night advanced its winter vacation by a week and asked students to vacate their hostels by Tuesday night. The circular by varsity Registrar Dr. S Bhuvaneswari was issued hours after the students protested against the CAA and burnt effigies of Modi and Shah.

After the circular was issued, students launched a dharna inside the campus, asking the administration to withdraw the circular and allow them to stay inside their hostel rooms till December 24.

Several students whom DH spoke to said it was impossible for them to vacate the hostel within 24 hours, as a chunk of them hail from far-away states like West Bengal, Kashmir, and Assam.

“We protested peacefully, and we did not indulge in any violence. Even the police were there during our protest. Within two hours of the protest, we get a circular asking us to vacate hostels in 24 hours. Why should we vacate the hostels when we have paid for it till December 24?” an M. Phil student asked.

(Published 17 December 2019, 16:02 IST)

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