They Can Break Our Bones Not Our Spirit: Jamia Protests Again
Unfazed by police action which happened on Sunday after students of Jamia Millia Islamia University demonstrated against the Citizenship Amendment Act on their campus, the students were back in streets protesting on Wednesday afternoon outside the gate of Bab-E Maulana Abul Kalam Azad building. In a systematic manner, while many students were seen facilitating road traffic, hundreds of others assembled in solidarity to oppose CAA and the police crackdown that allegedly left many students traumatized and injured. Students who weren’t a part of the protest earlier but got allegedly beaten up by the police during the infringement, also came out to share their ordeal. Women students have been highlighted for being at the forefront of the protest since it began in the university (women hostelers of the J&K Women’s hostel were the first ones to kick off a peace march in dissent of the CAA), even on Wednesday, they came out in large numbers and were seen sloganeering chants of “Azadi” from the “patriarchal government”.
One of the female students, Hina Khan, a research student at the university, who spoke at the demonstration began her speech with the chants of “Inquilab Zindabad” and proceeded to say, “Women are at the top in every field today. The protests in Jamia have become successful only because of the solidarity of our sisters with our brothers. That day just a few meters from where we speak, students had to run for their lives without their shoes on, with nowhere to go. All students including young women were beaten up by lathis and were thrown tear gas at us by the police. When the oppressors did not feel content beating us up on Friday, they entered our campus without permission and beat up our Imam and security guards too along with the students. Tell me if the students sitting in the library were there for stone-pelting or to study? If they had to throw anything on the Delhi Police then they would have thrown books at them.”
She shared a very famous quote from a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz to the cheering crowd.
“Sab taaj uchale jayenge,
Sab takht giraye jayenge.”
A male student, who had a cast on his hand, also shared his ordeal, saying that he wasn’t protesting on Sunday when the police charged at him with sticks. “I was merely going by his usual business in the campus when the police crackdown happened and before I could think, the police Burst sticks at me several times and I ended up with a broken hand,” said he.
One of the students at the protest, Aasiya Majid spoke to SheThePeople.TV and claimed that she had to jump walls on Sunday to come out of the campus safely. “My legs got injured because of jumping walls since we had to be quick as they were throwing tear gas at us and abusing us so badly. I cannot even say those words again,” says Majid. Since she has spent all her school and college life in Jamia, she felt closely affected by the violence on Sunday, she added.
Pinjra Tod also actively participated in the protest and rejecting CAA and NRC. One of its members, Suditi Samriddhi said, “We are protesting against it and this is the reason we have come down in large numbers to protest against these unconstitutional laws. Women have been at the forefront of these protests since the beginning. I personally feel very connected to the cause we are here for because the idea of Hindu Rashtra is not just oppressive to Muslims but all minority communities.”
She further added, “This is a sort of ethnic cleansing and it wouldn’t just stop at Muslims, then they will come after other minorities like Dalit, tribals, women etc. too. The idea of Hindu Rashtra that they have imbibed is a very patriarchal one and Brahmanic and it exudes power structure and not an equal society.”
On asking if the police crackdown instilled any fear within her, she says that it is sad that it has become a norm in universities like JNU where she is studying. “We are not scared because we have assembled in large numbers here. We feel scared when the number is much small and especially after the criticism police have received against the crackdown, we hope that they wouldn’t take similar steps again so soon.”
“As soon as I heard about it, I left Bareilly to come back to my place because I cannot see my University and my people getting attacked. The visuals of the crackdown sent a shiver down my spine. Today I am here since morning to express my solidarity with the movement and will come here every day. We cannot ket oppression become the norm.” – Mumtaz Ansari
Another woman, Mumtaz Ansari, who graduated from Jamia around 2005 and now lives in the vicinity told us that she was in Bareilly when she heard of the protests and the subsequent violence that took place. “As soon as I heard about it, I left Bareilly to come back to my place because I cannot see my University and my people getting attacked. The visuals of the crackdown sent a shiver down my spine. Today I am here since morning to express my solidarity with the movement and will come here every day. We cannot ket oppression become the norm.”
A large chunk of the protests also comprised of people from the Sikh community, many of whom said that they have come from different parts of India including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Goa etc to express solidarity with the students of Jamia and to protest against CAA.