Country-wide anti CAA-NRC protests continue

The protests that began in the middle of December post the signing of the Citizenship Amendment Act by the President on 12th December continued through the New Year and are still going on. In Delhi, Bengaluru and many other cities, the New Year was rung in with slogans of “No to CAA NRC!” “Students have a right to protest peacefully!” “We will not accept citizenship to be defined on the basis of religion!”

Country-wide protests against CAA

The protests against CAA are continuing since 16th December in Shaheen Bagh in south-east Delhi. Without any let up, in the biting cold, thousands are demonstrating under the leadership of the women of the area. Women, children, students – girls and boys, participate in these protests that begin from 5 p.m. in the evening till 2 a.m, past midnight. On 12th January, the numbers swelled to over one lakh. Women in the neighbourhood finish off their day’s work quickly to join the protestors. Working men and women also join the protests after their daily work.

Protests are continuing in Jamia Millia University, which has become the epicentre of the protests in Delhi against the amended citizenship law. Every day, scores of students and citizens carrying placards and banners squatted on one carriageway of the road outside the university.

On 31st December and right into the New Year, protests against the amended citizenship law continued in various parts of Delhi including at Shaheen Bagh, Jamia University and India Gate where agitators sang legendary poet Faiz Ahamed Faiz’s ‘Hum Dekhenge’ and pledged to fight this anti-people Act to the end.

Ist January, New year’s Day saw an unprecedented massive rally in Jamia Nagar that stretched all the way to Okhla Nagar Metro station.

Shaheen Bagh protest
Daily protests in Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi
Protest in Pune against CAA
Protest organised by women’s groups in Pune

The masses of people across several cities of India have taken up the anti-CAA NRC banner, even as they are unequivocally and unitedly opposing the attacks on students in university campuses across the country. The masses of people have demonstrated at the police headquarters against the state organised attack on Jamia students on 12th December and the life-threatening attack on JNU students on 5th January and have condemned the barbaric attack on students in an effort to crush their voices of dissent.

On 11th January 2020, hundreds of women protested against CAA and NRC at Jantar Mantar under the banner of the Alliance against CAA NRC On 6th January, Malegaon in Maharashtra, witnessed its second massive protest against the CAA and the NRC organised by women. More than 50,000 women took to the streets. The women, many of whom were accompanied by young children, began to congregate at Jamea-Tus-Swalehat, Malegaon’s oldest madrasa for women, around 2 pm. This was the second massive rally taken out by women in the town after several thousands marched on 19th December, against CAA and NRC.

On 8th January over 10,000 students and faculty protested against CAA and NRC and in support of their demands, at the Delhi University. They boycotted classes to protest the attacks on students inside their university campus. Delhi School of Economics, St Stephens, Miranda, KM and other DU colleges also came out to protest. One student voiced the feelings of a majority of the students with respect to the attack organised against JNU students protesting the fee hike when he said – “first the government increases the fees, then they send police to beat up the students and finally use goons to cause mayhem and panic on campus.”

On the same day, in response to the strike call of the trade unions, workers and peasants took out rallies and protest marches in support of their demands; they condemned the CAA and NRC and demanded that the government repeals these laws.

On that day, a peaceful Candlelight march was organised from the Hamdard Dawakhana in Lal Kuan to Jammas Masjid Gate No.1 in which thousands of people participated to protest against CAA and NRC.

On 4th January, the ‘Million March’ against CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and NRC drew huge crowds from the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and surrounding districts. The protest march organised by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising 40 Muslim and Dalit organisations lasted 3 hours long and brought traffic to a halt on the main roads which connect the twin cities. Roads in the heart of the city were packed with men, women and children carrying banners and placards, raising slogans against the Narendra Modi-led government. Citizens from various walks of life – traders, lawyers, writers, journalists, software engineers, other professionals, students, activists, religious leaders and house wives – joined hands to participate in the march, so far the biggest protest against CAA in Hyderabad.

Numerous solidarity demonstrations and meetings have taken place in support of the victims of state terrorism in UP. On 7th Jan, a solidarity meeting was held in Defense of Human Rights Defenders and Citizens of UP

The vicious attack organised by the State on 5th January on JNU campus when masked goons rampaged the hostels and attacked students with the active connivance of the police and administration, drew widespread condemnation and demonstrations of solidarity. College campuses across the country and overseas saw students and teachers turning out in support of the students and faculty who were attacked on JNU campus just the day before.

On 6th January, there were protests in Ahmedabad outside the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. Students from IIMA, CEPP University, Ahmedabad University, National Institute of Fashion Technology, National Institute of Design and Gujarat Vidyapith took part in the protests. They were joined by hundreds of citizens. The protestors held banners denouncing the violence against JNU students.

An Emergency Rally was organised on 6th January by students in Ranchi under the banner: Stand against the state-backed attack on JNU students and faculty.

There were similar protests at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University Hyderabad and at the Punjab University in Patiala. Here the students stood with bold banners and placards that read – Resist NRC/CAA and Patiala stands with JNU/Jamia.

Besides IIM Ahmedabad, students of IIMs at Bengaluru and Kolkata, IITs at Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Aligarh Musli University and Jadavpur University were out on the streets as they heard the news of the violence on JNU campus.

Across the world there were protests against the violence against students on university campuses. The People’s Alliance against the Indian Citizenship Act in Toronto, Students of Oxford Union, students of Columbia University in the US and SOAS University in London were also out on the streets in solidarity with students in India.