New Delhi, 15th of March – In the last 45 days of ‘dissent’ has being termed as the new threat to nationalism, the two other students from the esteemed Jawaharlal Nehru University, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, have been in judicial custody for more than 14 days now. Umar and Anirban, surrendered themselves over to the police, while one of their comrades and the president of the JNUSU, Kanhaiya Kumar, was already facing sedition charges and was detained. Kanhaiya, however was released on bail a week back and still continues to face charges.
When news struck that the judicial custody for these two students has been extended by two weeks, thousands took to the streets again in protest of the same on the 15th of March, 2016. Since a couple of days, many of us were flinching in discomfort over why there is a slightly declined sense of camaraderie for Umar and Anirban , when earlier the nation witnessed 15000 people come forward in solidarity with JNU and for the release of Kanhaiya Kumar. The unanimity was finally visible when thousands of students from major educational institutions, teachers and supporters of the cause marched in protest of the judicial custody of these two men from Mandi House to the Parliament street. Banners carrying lively photographs of these students with slogans like “Umar-Anirban ko Riha Karo, Sedition Charges wapas Lo” (release Umar and Anirban, drop the sedition charges) were ringing in the atmosphere. The angst on these people’s faces, who walked in all their spirit and courage, spoke much louder than their slogans.
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The crowd was later addressed by the JNUSU president, Kanhaiya, who had come directly to Parliament street, where the crowd thronged to hear his speech. Many eminent faces were present for the protest march too, which included famous author-activist Arundhati Roy, who had addressed the crowd after Kanhaiya. She urged the crowd to fight on and stated that this is like a battle between two ideologies – one side knows how to think, reason and invite healthy discussions and the other side uses blatant hatred as a weapon.
These photographs from the recent protest march, are a tribute to all those people who have stood with truth, the importance of dissent and the freedom to speak. They exemplified immense courage and stood against the fascist notions and the brahminical-oppresive ascendancy of the current ruling government in this nation.
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All images courtesy Mayuri Ghosh for Feminism In India.