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Protest for Fearless Coexistence

Rallying around for commitment to the Constitution has become imperative and urgent.

 
 

The unfolding situation in the aftermath of the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) is revealing the character of the current ruling regime and the fortitude of the people. On the one hand, nationwide protests against this act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) have seen spirited and spontaneous participation of diverse sections of the masses. On the other, the government has responded to the protests in a characteristically undemocratic and repressive manner. The growing protest calls into question the policy of the government that seems to ride roughshod over people’s constitutional aspirations. This protest also exposes the limits of the ruling duo whose hidden agenda is to acquire people’s acquiescence to the former’s sectarian agenda. However, the mass protests that began in the north-eastern states and further spread into various parts of the country—notably in universities—have brought the fragility of such imperious delusions into sharp relief.

While the protests had begun in Assam, Tripura and other north-eastern states immediately after the passage of the CAA, they received greater impetus after the violent police crackdown at the Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). In a reprehensible display of deli­berate targeting, Delhi police, as the media reports suggest, went to the extent of firing tear gas shells inside the Jamia library, attacking hostels and allegedly firing rubber bullets at the students. Reports of violence in AMU are equally or even more infuriating. The police went ahead with their action ­despite the student protests being peaceful, and even the stray incidents of violence involving damage to public property were not at the behest of students as has been admitted by the police themselves. Nevertheless, the convenient pretext of finding equivalences between alleged damage to public property by the protestors and the systematic coercion unleashed by the state machinery only serves to absolve the government of its moral responsibility. All such attempts at obfuscation and ­casting aspersions do not seem to be succeeding in the face of the sheer courage shown by the students while facing police brutality. Women students of Jamia who stood up fearlessly to the police lathi charge were delivering a stern warning to the rulers that the latter would not be allowed to trample upon the rights of the people. Exemplary courage seems to have inspired thousands of students across the nation, from various universities—even those that have hitherto been politically inactive—to hit the streets in defence of constitutional rights and against the exclusionary designs of the CAA–NRC combine.

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Updated On : 6th Jan, 2020

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