New Delhi: Students at university campuses across India erupted in protests late on Sunday night as news of the brutal police crackdown on students inside the Jamia Milia Islamia campus in Delhi spread across the country.
The first to protest against the police action in Jamia were students of the Aligarh Muslim University, who have been protesting against the amended Citizenship Act that excludes Muslims. The students clashed with the police after their solidarity march was stopped. In the protests, at least 60 students were injured after police used tear gas inside the campus and lathi charged students.
By midnight, protests also spread to Hyderabad, Varanasi, Kolkata, Puducherry, Lucknow and Mumbai as students raised their voices against the alleged brutal police assault on Jamia students that has left more than 125 students of the premier central university injured.
In Delhi, thousands of people gathered outside the Delhi Police headquarters and shouted police “sharam karo (have shame),” after a protest call by the Jawaharlal Nehru University students.
They demanded the release of the 35 Jamia students, who were detained inside the Kalkaji Police station since Sunday evening and were not allowed to meet anyone. The police released the students around 3.30 am after the efforts of lawyers, fellow Jamia students and alumni, and some civil society members, after which the protesters at ITO dispersed.
Students from the Delhi University had also turned up in large numbers at the police HQ at ITO in central Delhi and the protest continued till late at night.
Students at Hyderabad's Maulana Azad Urdu University and the Benaras Hindu University held protest marches around midnight. At Jadavpur University, students took out a march through the neighbourhood.
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In Mumbai, students from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences took out a candlelight march and sang the famous Urdu poem 'Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna' - a popular slogan that has been associated with revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh.
Though peaceful, this protest was also observed against the controversial CAA, which was passed last week by the government. IIT Bombay also joined the protests as its students hit the streets with torches and placards expressing solidarity with Jamia students.
Hundreds of students from the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) and the University of Mumbai also held protests. The protests in the financial capital were peaceful.
TISS students gathered outside the college premises in the morning, carrying placards with anti-government slogans. "The nation is dying while you are sleeping," read one of the placards. The students also shouted slogans against what they called "Godi Media".
They shouted slogans condemning "police brutality and violence" against the JMI and AMU students. "The time has come to speak up guys," shouted a student.
Members of around 18 student unions assembled outside the Kalina campus of the Mumbai university and held a demonstration. Around 500 students from different departments took part in the demonstration.
In Bihar, where the ruling Janata Dal (United) and Bharatiya Janata Party coalition had both supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament, protests by Patna Univeristy student saw clashes with the police. Protest marches were also held in Lucknow by students of the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, and in Puducherry. More protests have been planned across universities on Monday as well.
A heavy police force guarded the gates of the Islamic seminary Nadwatul Ulama in Lucknow as large number of students held a demonstration and tried to take to the streets. However, police prevented them from coming out. "Some students of Nadwatul Ulama here tried to protest and hurled stones from inside. They were prevented and no one is allowed to come outside the campus," DGP OP Singh said.
He said the situation is under control and one one was injured in the protest. "Senior officers including District Magistrate and Senior Superintendent of Police are on the spot.”
College students in Tamil Nadu also protested against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, expressing solidarity with students across the country.
Members of Students Federation of India (SFI) protested outside the Chennai Suburban Railway Terminal against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The students shouted slogans against the law, state and central governments. Students of Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) took out a procession inside the campus. Similarly, students of Loyola College here also protested.
In Tiruvannamalai, a group of students of Government Arts College held protest and shouted slogans.