In the fight against the Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA, the support from the student community has been tremendous who have been coming day in and day out to protest against the draconian law. While the students are really enthusiastic, academic institutions as well as the government are doing their best to stop them. Here are a few instances:
Nirma University, a private institution in Ahmedabad, sent out messages to student protesters’ parents asking them to “counsel” their kids and also warned them against police action that might be taken against their child. Further, the university made the protesters sign an undertaking saying that they won’t participate in any more such activities. Despite the university preventing them, the students continued to resist the CAA in their personal capacity.
TISS Mumbai released an official notice preventing their staff and lecturers from participating in any protests, asserting that TISS is a government-funded institution and people have no right to protest. The notice also added that participating in the protest is against the ‘conduct rules’ and that, if they remain absent from duty then it would be treated as ‘unauthorised’. To this, the president of TISS Teachers’ Association said that, “There is no rule that prevents them from participating in a demonstration for their rights,” and they have ever since been taking casual leaves or joining protests after classes to fight against the law.
To this, the president of TISS Teachers’ Association said that, “There is no rule that prevents them from participating in a demonstration for their rights,” and they have ever since been taking casual leaves or joining protests after classes to fight against the law.
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IIT Madras’ student community has been joining protests in and out of the campus. Among them was a post graduate exchange student from Germany who vocalised his resistance against CAA. Jakob Lindelthal was spotted holding posters like “1933-1945 – We have been there” and “Uninformed criminals = Criminal.” The centre was infuriated by that and a notice was sent to him asking him to leave the country within 24 hours. All that Jakob did was speak about Political Freedom. This goes on to show how the government wants to leave no room for dissent in this country. This didn’t weaken their spirits and three IITs – IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, and IIT Kanpur have shown support for Jamia and AMU students and organized campus-wide marches to show solidarity.
After IIT Kanpur students recited Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem “Hum Dekhenge” to show support to the student community at JMI, the institution set up a panel to investigate the wordings of the poem. They believe that some wordings of the poem are Anti-Hindu and inappropriate. The students say they were denied permission to hold the protest hours before the march. “But we had already sent across the information so we took it out anyway,” one of the protesters said.
Rabiha from Pondicherry university was receiving a gold medal for her exemplary academic performance when the administration came up to her and made her leave the convocation hall upon the arrival of President Ramnath Kovind. She has been vocal about her resistance against CAA and was it was suspected that she would’ve created ruckus in front of the chief guest and shouted Anti-CAA slogans, because she was wearing a Hijab. As a mark of protest, she rejected her gold medal because she felt like it was an insult for her and other students alike. Rabiha believes that giving up the medal would give out a strong message to the management of how problematic their order was.
As a mark of protest, she rejected her gold medal because she felt like it was an insult for her and other students alike. Rabiha believes that giving up the medal would give out a strong message to the management of how problematic their order was.
Earlier this year, the government asked universities to link up their students’ social media accounts with themselves. Approximately 900 universities and 40,000 colleges were expected to do this. This is considered a very scary measure because it will directly target the students and call them out if they disagree with the ruling government. It is believed that, “Most of the students will fall into the trap. Teachers will be forced to comply. When the students are in the network, control will be easier.”
The president of Delhi University Teachers’ Association said, “Given the track record of the government, we fear that a merger of informal spaces like FB, Twitter and Instagram with formal spaces will lead to greater surveillance. With institutions tracking informal spaces, students may be pushed to share ‘positive’ stories about institutions and government policies. We would rather prefer that the HEIs create spaces on their websites on which students can share their stories. Informal spaces available to citizens to express their stories and opinion should not be taken away.” But with such huge amounts of resistance coming from all sides, the possibilities of this getting implemented look bleak.
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All these instances go on to show how despite lack of cooperation from government, academic institutions and police, the momentum of the protests has not died down. We’re in the middle of a modern day civil disobedience and we couldn’t be more proud of it.
Featured Image Source: Asianet