Statement Condemning State Brutality in JMI and AMU and Rejecting Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019:
We the alumni of Warwick Law School, condemn state brutality in Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) University, and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), as well as in Guwahati. We also reject the draconian and unconstitutional Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) passed by the Indian Parliament.
On 15th of December, 2019 Delhi Police entered the JMI University campus. The students of JMI have been protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The police beat up the security guard at the gate, and open fired at the students on campus, beat up students mercilessly with lathis (batons/sticks) and fired tear gas in the library. Several students were severely injured and hospitalised.
The police also detained some 50 students who were protesting against the CAA who were later released after a huge protest outside the Delhi Police Head Quarters. On the night of 15th December 2019, the protesting students of Aligarh Muslim University, (AMU) met with the same fate, when police entered the campus and engaged in brutalising the students and vandalising the university campus.
Some of the students, in their attempt to escape the fire in the boys’ hostel, allegedly spread by the police, were severely injured.
There has been complete internet shut down in Aligarh, because of which there is a complete blackout of information about AMU. Earlier this month, four people were shot dead by the police in Guwahati, Assam during the Anti-CAA protest. There has been a complete shut down of internet in Guwahati as well until recently.
Until yesterday, seven people have been killed in the Anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh, In Delhi, the police have mercilessly beaten up protesters in Darjaganj, detained several people and are labelling protesters as ‘terrorists’.
After the crackdown at JMI and AMU, nationwide protests have erupted all over India, in various cities and small towns from east to west, north to south. Also, in their shameless bid to crackdown on dissent, the Modi government continues to shut down the internet leading to a media blackout and has imposed Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) making the association of people in public spaces a criminal offence. By resorting to such methods of repression, the Modi government is trying to turn the entire country into an open jail.
Students, activists and common people of India have been protesting against CAA, ever since it was tabled in the Parliament, in the form of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB). Amid huge protests, the CAA was passed by both houses of the Parliament and it gained effect of the law on 12th December 2019.
The discriminatory nature of the CAA is evident from the fact that it explicitly excludes Muslim migrants from becoming eligible for Indian citizenship, while explicitly expressing that members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community entering India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan will not be treated as illegal immigrants as they have been exempted by the Central Government under Section 3(2)(c) of the Passports (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and application of the provisions of the Foreigner Act, 1946.
The day on which CAA was passed is marked as the darkest day of Indian democracy, as it is a huge blow, not just to India’s democratic ethos and principles, but also on the Constitution which is the source of India’s democratic instinct.
The citizens of India chose to be a ‘Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic’ that secures to all its citizens ‘Justice, Liberty and Equality’. The current Citizenship (Amendment) Act of India is aimed at making those Muslim migrants, from other parts of South Asia, who had migrated to India, and who have become an integral part of our social, cultural, political and economic life, as ‘stateless’.
The current Citizenship (Amendment) Act aims at putting the Muslim community, that had migrated to India, in an absolute state of dejection and removed from the path of political mobility by stripping them of their rights of citizenship.
The Indian state has launched a class war against the working class Muslim migrant labours, as their status as citizen stands to be threatened because the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), which was initially implemented in Assam, arbitrarily, has left 19 million people out of NRC. They are faced with a situation where they will be stripped of their citizenship and put in detention camps, at best.
These processes where people of India have to prove their citizenship to the State by way of arbitrary processes of NRC and National Population Register (NPR) are an insult to the people of India, who had ‘adopted, enacted and given to ourselves the Constitution’ and, put in place the machinery of the State. Indian State emanates from the people of India, not the other way round.
CAA is nothing but a massive exercise of putting the Muslim community of India in the state of ‘statelessness, abjection and modern slavery’. The chauvinist, Brahmanical, Islamophobic, Hindutva, Capitalist State is moving to enact another massive mass exodus after the partition of 1947.
This coloniality of citizenship law and politics will put the whole of South Asia in a state of jeopardy and unwanted chaos. It will violently break already fragile social relations between communities not just in India, but in the entire South-Asian region. Therefore, we the alumni of Warwick Law School condemn the CAA, the arbitrary processes of NRC and NPR and the brutality of the Indian State on the campuses of JMI and AMU.
We demand the Indian State:
1. To retract the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019;
2. Rollback NRC and NPR;
3. Immediately stop the persecution of students at JMI and AMU; and
4. Immediately stop the crackdown on dissent and political organising.
We stand in solidarity with the students of JMI and AMU. We stand in solidarity with the people of India, who are protesting against this draconic piece of legislation. We stand in solidarity with those who fear of being rendered stateless and stripped of their citizenship. We stand in solidarity with the Constitution of India, and the defenders of this living document, which is at the centre of the moral compass of Indian society. We stand in solidarity with the idea of borderless South Asia.
In solidarity with the banned and damned!
Collective of Alumni,
School of Law, The University of Warwick,