New Delhi: A day after strong crackdown on protesting students of Jamia Millia Islamia in the national capital and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Uttar Pradesh, students across campuses in multiple cities expressed solidarity with their counterparts.
Students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) in Hyderabad and Nadwatul Ulama in Lucknow expressed support to students in the two campuses.
Jadavpur University in Kolkata and IIT Madras also joined in.
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of CPI(M), also organised a state-wide protest late Sunday to protest against the police action on students.
On Sunday, Jamia students were protesting against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act when the demonstration was allegedly hijacked by some outsiders and the Delhi Police used force, including tear gas shells and batons, to quell the protest.
Late in the evening, after the news broke of police action against Jamia protestors, AMU students came out on the streets. The local police then resorted to lathicharge and lobbing tear gas shells to disperse the students.
In both the cases, the police has been accused of using excessive force.
Hours after the crackdown at Jamia in the national capital, IIT Bombay and TISS students organised a rally in Mumbai to extend support to the protesting students.
Hundreds of students marched on the streets, holding placards that read, “In solidarity with Jamia and AMU” and “TISS stands with JMI”, among others.
HCU and MANUU students in Hyderabad also organised a protest march early Monday. According to reports, MANUU students also decided to boycott their exams to show solidarity.
Several students in Delhi University boycotted exams and held a protest outside the Arts Faculty in North Campus to express solidarity with Jamia. They said they would gather at India Gate on Monday evening.
Angry demonstrations could be seen at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi too.
“Crackdown is a very small word to be used for what happened in Jamia yesterday. This is clear hooliganism. Videos of policemen smashing bikes and beating students are all over social media. The government must fix accountability for this,” a PTI report quoted a PhD student at BHU as saying.
Ridhima Dua, a Jadavpur University student in Kolkata, asked how teargas could be used inside the closed campus.
“If I am molested on a street and go to police to file a complaint I will be told about norms. Where are the norms now? How can teargas be used inside a closed compound? How can policemen just barge into the university without any permission from vice chancellor? There has to be a probe in this,” she told PTI.
Meanwhile, the Jamia Milia Islamia administration called an emergency meet early Monday, a day after the Central university was rocked by violent protests, to take a decision on the future course of action.
Condemning the police action Sunday, Jamia vice-chancellor Najma Akhtar released a video message Monday expressing “hurt” at the police action.
“I am deeply hurt by the barbarity with which the police treated my students. The police entering the library and lathicharging innocent students who were studying is not acceptable to me,” said Akhtar.
“You are not alone in these difficult times. The entire Jamia community is with you. Don’t be disheartened and don’t believe in rumours. At Jamia we stand united and we will remain united,” she added.
She also told her students that she will raise the issue at the “highest level”.
The move came days after the university advanced the winter vacations after a separate protest on the same issue was organised on campus on 13 December.
‘Difficult to identify’
Coming in under severe criticism for its alleged heavy-handed action Sunday, the Delhi Police defended itself saying it entered the Jamia campus while chasing miscreants.
“The protesters got mixed up with students and it became difficult for us to identify them,” a police officer told ThePrint Sunday.
“The protest was peaceful till 3:30 pm and Delhi Police was cooperating with the protesters. It was only after some anti-social elements entered the protest and set vehicles afire, that things turned ugly,” Delhi Police PRO Mandeep Singh Randhawa said in a statement.
Following the clashes, the police has registered two cases of rioting and arson and are likely to make arrests Monday.
Meanwhile, the 50 Jamia students who were detained across city police stations were released in the early hours of the day.