New Delhi: The Gujarat Police allegedly tried to disrupt a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) planned by students of the Gujarat Vidyapith in Ahmedabad Tuesday.
Videos of the incident have since gone viral on social media, drawing sharp reactions from the civil society.
The students had decided to fly kites carrying anti-CAA and anti-NRC messages on the occasion of Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti) when officers of the Gujarat Police allegedly entered the university’s campus.
The video shows students confronting officers — who were asking them to show their identity cards (ID) — for entering the college without permission.
“You can’t ask us for ID cards. We can do whatever we want on campus. This is a central university…why is the state police here?” asks a student.
One of the policemen captured in the video can be heard saying: “We have every right to come inside the campus without taking anyone’s permission. We are here to maintain law and order. What if violence breaks out here?”
Another student can be heard saying: “If I have to show my ID I will show it to the guards on campus…why will I show it to them (the police)… tanashahi kar rahe hai (they are being dictatorial).”
The students nevertheless went ahead with their programme later in the day and flew some of the kites.
‘Section 144 on skies too’
Condemning the incident, former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, who quit the service after the Narendra Modi government decided to scrap Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, tweeted saying: “Perhaps for the first time after Independence police entered the campus of Gujarat Vidyapith, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920.”
Perhaps for the first time after Independence police entered the campus of Gujarat Vidyapith, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920.
To prevent students from flying kites.
— Kannan Gopinathan (@naukarshah) January 14, 2020
Dalit activist and Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani also criticised Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s government and said Section 144 can now be “imposed in the skies too”.
अब तो आसमान में भी Section 144 लागू ! https://t.co/raLEqJDM9e
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) January 14, 2020
Gujarat Vidyapith is a central university funded by the University Grants Commission. It was founded in 1920 by Mahatma Gandhi during the Non-Cooperation Movement when he asked everybody to boycott English-medium schools and educational institutions.
To ensure that students who left their schools and colleges were not deprived of an education, five ‘national vidyapiths’ were established, one of which is the Gujarat Vidyapith.