Co-Written by Inamul Haq & Dr. Beryl Anand

student protest india jnu

The ongoing student protest in India against the policies of government is not new in the history.It is revolution among the young students, who does not believe in boundaries, religion, identity, class and region. The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is considered as a hub of anti-government protests. However, the rest of the universities in India always comes in solidarity with JNU. There were protests on different issues, however, Central government used police force outside the campus to crush the resistance. However, police did not enter in campus, hostel or library to beat the students. On 12th of December, the President of India assigned the Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB) into law. with this move, protests erupted around the North-eastern states like Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and So on. University students also came out against CAB. The main protests comes out from Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.

The students studying here resisted against the CAB. However, the police used by Government was not condemnable but also questionable, why police barged in university campuses and ransacked the university library and assaulted female students in their respective hostels. why student protest is considered as threat and why there is no space of dissent in today’s India. in the world history, there were protests organised by university students against the government. The article will highlight some student protests that erupted worldwide. In 1942, when Nazi rule was on its height, there erupted a non-resistance protests against Nazism by white. This group emerged from the university of Munich and its founders were Wili Graf, Christoph Probst, Alex Schmorell, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl and their professor Kurt Huber. The group of students launched anti-Nazi campaign to inform the local populace about the atrocities of Nazi regime and tried to encourage them to resist against Nazism (Holocaust research project).  However, their campaign came out in public, which led them in detention.

All of them were tried and executed on February 18, 1943. It is true that were not successful in their mission. However, they left a voice which has put a dent in the Nazi regime.In 1970’s, when Vietnam War was going on, there were some Americans who were against it. On May 01, 1970, the students at Kent State University in Ohio protested against the war. The protests were intensified to such extend that police have to use fire on the students and killed four of them and wounded so many. The state closed the university in order to bring normalcy. On June 16, 1976, there was student protest in South Africa against apartheid and Bantu Education Act (1953) organised by high school students in Soweto. As the student march headed towards a soccer stadium. The protestors were met with live ammunition which resulted in killing of two students and hundreds were injured (South African History Online). There were other student movements like velvet revolution of 1989, Tiananmen Square 1989. The 2014 Hong Kong’s Umbrella protests is also well-known protest by students who wore yellow ribbon and boycotted classes in support of full democratic elections and descended on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This protest was supported by locals.

The police used pepper spray and tear gas shells. The protestors stood firm and opened umbrellas for their protection, which became their symbol also. In India, the students from different universities organised protest against the government regarding education and other social issues. However, the citizen amendment is not only attack on a particular section, but it is a direct attack on Indian constitution and it also violates the Assam Accord 1985. The CAB have created such an environment that each and everyone from north-eastern state of Assam had to provide documents proving that they are legal citizens and if they failed to prove, then detention and deportation is next step. The Modi led government has taken each and every step to make India as a Hindu Nation by abrogating Article 370 in Muslim majority state, victory over Ram Mandir and now CAB for the purpose to protect persecuted minorities.

The CAB used religion to decide who is an illegal immigrant and whom to grant citizenship. The CAB could result in making Muslim refugees in their own country. The solidarity and protests by students against this move is being dealt with violence. It is true that this voice can be supressed as Kashmiri’s were by detaining youth and blocking communication. However, time has come that such students protests need support and solidarity of each and every individual to protect the country, which is heading towards communal strife and next partition.

Inamul Haq is Research Candidate, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar.

Dr. Beryl Anand  Assistant Professor, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar.


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