In city, protesters defy many obstacles

In city, protesters defy many obstacles

The campus mood is upbeat, despite police efforts to scuttle rallies and demonstrations

Students in Bengaluru are hitting the streets to voice their anger against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and police action against protesters.

The brutal police crackdown in Delhi against students of Jamia Milia Islamia University on Sunday has raised many questions about ‘freedom of expression’.

Voices from the national institutes 

In Bengaluru, 172 students, staff, and faculty of the Indian Institute of Management have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the repression of students protesting CAA.

A group of students from the Indian Institute of Science sat in a silent protest on Monday.

Town Hall blocked

Town Hall saw protests on December 15 and 16. While the one on Sunday, which took place before the police brutality in Delhi took place, saw a huge turnout.

The atmosphere on Monday was more charged. Police, present with lathis, had cordoned off Town Hall and kept water cannons ready. They asked protesters to leave within an hour of assembling.

On Tuesday, police discouraged organisers and denied them protection.

The march was to begin at 12 pm from Town Hall. Police detained about 30 students, including the organiser, for just gathering at the spot.

After this, the protest venue shifted to Kanteerava Stadium, from where there was a march to Freedom Park. Students and activists gathered to stand in solidarity with those from Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University.

Hurdles crossed

Eyewitnesses say about 500 students braved the obstacles and turned up for the march on Tuesday. Once the march began, the police kept a watch on protesters but didn’t intervene at any point.

A larger protest is being planned on Thursday in Bengaluru as part of the all India protests against CAA and the atrocities.

Letter to PM from IIM-B Staff, students

Dear Hon. Prime Minister,

We the undersigned members of IIM Bangalore stand in solidarity with students around the country protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019 (CAA). We call upon you to not trample the democratic rights of citizens to peacefully protest an unjust law. Non-violent civil disobedience is at the heart of our republic’s founding. We urge you to ensure that students can protest peacefully, and that violence is not incited by anyone including custodians of state in positions of great authority and responsibility. 

(172 students signed in personal capacity)  

Academics must stand up and resist, says IIM associate prof who signed open letter to pm

IIM-B associate prof Deepak Malghan says CAA is a patently divisive and communal law

Metrolife spoke to Deepak Malghan, associate professor and one of the signatories to the open letter that the IIM-B faculty and students have sent to Prime Minister Modi.

He says the views expressed here are his own, and may not necessarily be of the 172 who
have signed the letter.

How are you resisting CAA?

The CAA goes against the founding principles of our republic. I believe academics and intellectuals have a special responsibility to stand up and resist this patently divisive and communal law in the best traditions of non-violent civil disobedience.

What are your plans, besides sending this petition to the PM?

Students are planning a peaceful protest inside the campus this week, and I will participate. Some signatories have participated in protests outside our campus.
I have not heard of any plans for an exam boycott.

How do you think the crisis should be defused?

The prime minister should unequivocally commit to protecting the democratic
right to peacefully protest an unjust law. Unfortunately, however, we have a leader who believes in thinly veiled dog whistles (his “identified by their clothes” remark is reprehensible).

Those creating violence are identified by their words and deeds, and our prime minister has failed here.

Lawyers are playing a big role in preventing violence

Sharath Ravishankar, graphic designer and activist, has been using social media to update post information about protests around the country.

“All student protests have been free of violence, including the one at Jamia Millia Islamia,” he told Metrolife.

Lawyers marching along have warned protesters of legal action if they turn violent.

“The idea is to be proactive and reach them before the media or the police to prevent any escalation,” Sharath says.

What happened in Delhi

This is how Reuters reported the developments at Jamia Millia University:

As dusk fell on Sunday, police smashed their way into the main library of New Delhi’s Jamia Millia University, firing tear gas shells as scores of terrified students barricaded doors and hid inside bathrooms to protect themselves.

Video footage shot by a student inside the library and reviewed by Reuters shows dozens of young students - including several women - scrambling for cover, cowering beneath desks, and jumping over metal and broken glass dividers as they attempted to flee.

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