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Why Protests At Jamia and AMU Should Be Denounced

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Following the passage of contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (now Citizenship Amendment Act) there have been massive protests in North East (NE) India and many parts of the nation. Primarily, it needs to be understood that the protest movements both in NE and mainland India are diverse on its demand and character. In NE, the movement is to scrap the entire act, while in mainland India, the protest is against the exclusion of Muslims from the list of beneficiaries of the citizenship amendment.

There has been multiple video footage emerging from West Bengal, Assam and Delhi of unruly mobs damaging public property, raising provocative slogans and attacking security personnel. A section of media has already begun the process of glorifying students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), where protests against CAA took a violent turn.

The major accusation of the Islamists and left liberals is that the act violates basic feature of Indian constitution, Secularism as religion is used as a criterion for granting citizenship. So the question is, can giving citizenship to minorities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh be justified?

The partition of India, which happened in 1947, saw displacement of millions of people to and fro both in Pakistan and India. Even when both the nations were created, the framers had given assurance that both nations will take care of their minorities. An additional agreement was signed between Pandit Nehru and Liaqat Ali Khan called the Delhi Pact in 1950, which reiterated the commitment of both the new nations to protect its minorities (Pakistan includes both East and West Pakistans).

While the minorities were ensured all constitutional safeguards in India, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan failed to keep its word, and Hindus were persecuted from the very beginning and it continues even today. Many of the Hindus migrated from East Pakistan (Bangladesh) during the liberation war of 1971 due to religious persecution settled in West Bengal and Assam.

Afganistan also had a substantial population of Hindus. Following the invasion of Soviet Union and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as a counter to Russia, resulted in Hindus and Sikhs fleeing the country. Their fear was proved to be genuine when large statues of Buddha in Bamiyan Vaelley were demolished by Taliban using dynamite. In short, it can be argued that Hindus (including other minorities) are unsafe in Islamic nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Now, the basic question is where will persecuted Hindus and other minorities go for a safe shelter? Those people who advocate the inclusion of Muslims in the purview of CAA fail to understand that Muslims are not persecuted on religious grounds in Islamic countries (keeping in mind the condition of Shias and Ahmadiyas, it’s an inter-Islamic conflict, and India has no obligation towards it.)

Home Minister Amit Shah had made it clear in the Indian parliament that the new Citizenship Act doesn’t affect India’s existing citizens and it is for those refugees who came from India’s Islamic neighbors. So, why are protests happening against CAA? You can’t complain if an accusation is made that this is essentially a product of universal Islamic brotherhood, can you?

Dr B.R. Ambedkar, in his book ‘Pakistan or the Partition of India’, states that “Islam is the brotherhood of Muslims for the Muslims” (page 330, Para 3, Part 3, Chapter 7). Being classified as ‘minority institution’, special reservations are given to the Muslim community in both Jamia and Aligarh, and are hence heavily populated with students from the Muslim community.

Buses were burnt outside Jamia Islamia and students were seen hurling stones at the police. The excuse that their participation in the protest is strictly based on human rights concerns cannot be believed since none of these student organisations or university student unions ever showed their solidarity towards persecuted Hindus in Pakistan or when Kashmiri Pandits were thrown out of valley.

The complete ignorance of the left liberals and Islamists towards the pathetic condition of Hindus and other minorities in the Islamic nations are now out in the public domain. Students of these universities were seen fighting with the cops, and when the security personnel used force, the students played the victim card, and as usual channels fighting for TRPs, turned it into breaking news. But the students of these reputed universities using religion to shield illegal immigrants cannot be justified.

The proposed nation-wide NRC is helpful to flush out Rohingyas from India. It needs to be noted that even the Prime Minister of Bangladesh called Rohingyas a security threat to the region. Hence, a call to grant citizenship to the Rohingyas cannot be accepted. It is high time that the security is tightened in these universities, and any form of violence is dealt with severe repercussion.

Citizenship Amendment Act provides justice for the persecuted minorities of the Islamic republics, and hence, should be accepted by the general public in the spirit of justice and human rights.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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