Cops enter Madras varsity as students continue protest

Chennai: Students of Madras University during a silent protest against the passing of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), at the university campus in Chennai, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (PTI Photo)

A section of the students of the Madras University continued their protest for the second day on Tuesday against the amendment to the Citizenship Act, as police entered the campus.

Defiant students said they will continue their agitation "through the night." While police personnel who entered the campus said they were for the "safety of the students," the protesters alleged two of the students were picked up by police.

Police sources said two students have been called for questioning over allegedly inciting students of affiliated colleges to join the stir at the varsity's Marina campus. The varsity, according to the about 50 protesting students, has declared holiday till January 2.

"Today they declared holiday till December 23, the university is anyway scheduled to close for Christmas holidays from December 24 till January 2... ...declaring holiday now till December 23 is only to stifle our protest," one of the coordinators and a PG political science student, K Ragu Prasath told PTI.

The coordinator claimed that the two students are "under the custody of police." A senior police official told reporters on the campus that they had no intention of forcibly evicting the students from the campus.

"We arrived here following a representation from the varsity authorities and for the safety of students," he said. Asked if two students have been detained, the official said "when somebody is called in for inquiry, you cannot call it arrest or detention." Students, who sat near the main entrance of the sprawling campus, which is just opposite the famous Marina beach, raised slogans against the Centre, the BJP, the RSS and its student body, the ABVP.

"Inquilab zindabad and students unity zindabad," were among the slogans raised. Seeking withdrawal of the amendment, they dubbed the legislation as the "handiwork of the fascist BJP government."

As time rolled by, police reduced the strength of its personnel inside the campus and moved out police vans. After waiting in vain till 9 pm for the students to disperse, top varsity officials left for the day and police closed the gates of the university.

The Madras University is one of the oldest in the country and students of the varsity are among others in Tamil Nadu who have been protesting against the CAA.

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