New Delhi: On Wednesday, 10 students from the Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University were detained by the Delhi Police for protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
A virtual protest was held by student bodies across the country on Wednesday for the release of activists arrested during the staging of protests against the CAA.
Five students from JNU and five from DU were detained by the Maurice Nagar and Vasant Kunj police, respectively.
Along with the students, a journalist was also detained by the Vasant Kunj police station. They were all released later. The protestors said that they were holding up posters and other signs to mark a silent protest when they were picked up by the police.
The detention on Wednesday came amidst a list of another arrest of students made by the Delhi police in relation to the anti-CAA protests earlier this year and the Delhi riots which happened in February.
Members of the Jamia Coordination Committee Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Jamia students Asif Iqbal Tanha, Gulfisha Khatoon, Jamia Alumni Association President Shifa-Ur-Rehman, JNU student Natasha Narwal, activist Khalid Saifi and Umar Khalid have been arrested on previous occasions and charged under the draconian UAPA act.
A nationwide call by various student organizations and other rights bodies had called for nationwide protests and the students were just a part of it.
Many students and activists expressed solidarity with Jamia Millia Islamia students Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar and Pinjra Tod activists Devangana Khalita and Natasha Narwal. These have been accused of being involved in the conspiracy of the riots which of February in north-east Delhi and were arrested.
People posted images on Twitter carrying placards which read “Sab Yaad rakha jaayega” and “Down with CAA-NRC-NPR”.
The members of the Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union, Left-affiliated All India Students Association, women’s collective Pinjra Tod, and others participated in the protest on Twitter.
AISA tweeted, “Stop arresting activists and students! Stop fabricating cases on Anti-CAA protestors! Repeal UAPA! Political prisoners must be released! The real perpetrators of the Delhi riots must be released- the likes of Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur.”
The Left also shared pictures of how students who are in abroad also expressed solidarity along with the Indian students on the protest.
A call for carrying posters and placards in their locality while maintaining social distancing was made by the student bodies. The student bodies had also asked the protestors for sharing their videos and pictures on social media.
Some students also held symbolic protests inside the campuses of JNU and Jamia Milia Islamia while holding placards. Police were deployed at Jamia Milia Islamia in anticipation of the protest, but only two or three students turned up.
The call for organizing a protest was given by Delhi University’s Arts Faculty but were denied permission by the police.
The police denied an allegation made by the members of the Students’ Federation of India that they were threatened by the police against holding demonstrations.
The SFI alleged that their student leaders and members were being threatened by the officials of the Maurice Nagar police station for a couple of days. They were asked not to assemble in the Arts Faculty because of heavy police deployment.
The SFI also alleged that they were told that Section 144 will be imposed leading to the arrest of students and facing serious charges.
State Committee member Varkey said that due to repeated threats, they scattered even more and held small gatherings near Meera Bai park and Vijay Nagar, a residential area for all the students.
He said that the government is using the Covid-19 situation to stifle the voices of dissent and shift the narrative from its own failure in the containment of the spread of the virus to flatten the curve to the anti-CAA protestors and to show their anti-nationality.
The police had deployed forces at the Arts faculty in anticipation of protests from the student organizations.
The police while refuting the allegations made on them said that they contacted the organizers of the protest and requested them to not assemble as Section 144 is already imposed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any such gathering will be a violation of the law.
The AISA said that students observed symbolic protest demonstrations on the university campuses of Delhi while following physical distancing norms.
Students from Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, and other places protested at their homes against the targeting of students. In an assembly of few students of Jamia Milia Islamia, concerns over the arrest of fellow students were raised. Students of other Universities, for example, Ambedkar University, also had similar concerns.