Jamia Millia Islamia University has always been labeled as a shy university and has maintained this title until couple of months ago when a protest against the administration brought another scope of lens to the university. But, it was the passing of the CAA that led to further penetration into the eye of media as it led to protests. The narrative is multidimensional, subjected with blatant lies. We trace down, how and what are the students still striving for ‘the week that wasn’t’?
The trend of being apolitical is growing in India; politics is corruption, it is a vice, a sin. Facing the other side, having the head in the sand, thinking that if one doesn’t know it, it doesn’t affect them. People who talk about politics are seen as weird, and “Jantar Mantar pe chillanai walai.” The one person’s words the nation almost unanimously trusts; its Father, he once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” We wish a lot and do so little, almost everyone answers the question of what one thing would they wish upon the world as peace. We are dreamers, romantics, and so much more but humans, we hate conflict, stress, defeats, rejection – this is what it means to be political. Jamia has no student union, no political stand, but it took the side of it deemed right when it was needed, it stopped wishing and acted on the wish of all others. And with every action, as we know, follow consequences.
When we speak our truth with the people around us, we measure, we scale and we route in accordance of reality. Not sharing opinions makes one stuff their truth (which is truth according to them; could be false, could be misinformation) inside and work on it, without care. Jamia spoke its truth in the past week.
If you’re acting like the British Government then we will act like Bhagat Singh.
When CAB was passed in Lok Sabha on 10th December, which was ironically the Human Rights Day and the birthday of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, students held a talk on Citizenship at 1pm at central canteen while CAB was in legislation in the Parliament. Following the next day was the nod of Rajya Sabha and the students of Hall of Boys residence JMI protested at the central canteen to Gate no. 7 to 13, through Girls Hostel and then continued till Gate no. 4. On 12th of December the Hall of Girls Residence started a flash march from Ansari Auditorium rejecting NRC and CAA, the protest was led by the female students of JMI. On the 13th the Jamia Teachers Association, Jamia Administration and Staff Association, SRK Association and Jamia School Teachers Association organised a long march from Jamia to Parliament which was blocked by the police at Gate no. 1. The blockade created a menace, the peaceful protest of the students was infiltrated by a nuisance of locals. The police barricades were being tried and jumped over by protesters and stone pelting was initiated by the locals. Tear gases were even shot all over campus, there is photo evidence of police shooting the tear gas shells inside the campus, were there were no protests going on. The weekend shot up the atrocities of police on the students and locals alike, the policemen even beat up the female students whilst cursing at them. Though Saturday was comparatively silent as the administration released a notice that called for winter vacations from 16 December to 5th January. Sunday had the residents of Okhla Vihar calling a protest on the police action that was laid on students and against CAB. Locals joined them, gundas with baseball bats were also witnessed facilitating violence. With this catalyst and the burning of buses (allegedly done by police) spiked the protest and it tuned it to physical aggression and then havoc.
Later that evening more police joined in with witnesses claiming that members of unlawful organizations were with the police in helmets beating students up. The police authority entered the university premises without permission, entered libraries and beat up students who weren’t even a part of the protests. Dozens of students were brutally beaten up, tear gas was shot inside the libraries and hostels, all through this, verbal assault and inhumane attitude towards the students was prevalent. “Sari blindness tumhari aaj hei nikaltai hai” were the exact words of the policemen while they beat up a blind student inside the library. There are videos of police open firing at protesters, mercilessly beating them up. The detained students were being denied medical care inside Kalkaji Station and a colossal damage was laid to university property. It was a sport of power projection for them. Even the mosque was destroyed and the Imam was beaten up, the guards of the university account for the violence of the police. One video surfaced in which even the guards were physically and verbally assaulted.
After all the violence, on Monday the university witnessed a silent protest, where the traffic got easy passage & ambulances faced no hindrances. At the Ghalib Statue of Gate no. 7 the students were singing the National Anthem and there was conducted a reading of the Preamble and the tricolour was hailed all around. The protests still on, silent, shaken but determined, the trojan got in because the students had trust in the authority, it was exploited, it was used to feed an ideology. Jamia spoke up and trojan has made them realise that it’s time to speak up, the time that they’ll embark either as victims or as perpetrators in someone’s eye, neither of which will stop them from sailing.
On Tuesday, saw more people joining the MMAJ Marg with Tricolor all over the place, Lawyers, Bureaucrats & many other organizations supported the protesters that included students & general public. Bollywood Actor, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub also joined the dissent demonstrations.
This Wednesday we witnessed Social Activist Medha Patkar at the Protest site, following which student leader Kanhaiya Kumar also joined the protesters against the police actions & unconstitutional bill.
The protests have found a pan India presence with leading personalities, academic intellectual & eminent institutions of the country expressing the resentment against the government and it’s actions.
This is surely one of the darkest hours of Indian Democracy with the most visible voicing ever since 70s.
Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.