“CAA Is Not Just An Attack On Muslims, It’s An Attack On The Constitution”

Walaikumassalam.

From a supposed “Islamophobic Gandhivadi liberal” to your respected self,

You threw a lot of shade at the Jamia Coordination Committee and its intents without ever realizing what this committee really is or how it was formed. The JCC is a common students’ body, disassociated from any particular political or social view. It was formed after the incident of 15th December by concerned students of the university to project a single voice and stand united against CAA-NRC-NPR.

The JCC understands the fact that CAA-NRC-NPR is an attack on the Constitution which will affect many communities along with Muslims.

Members of JCC have been on the ground working to keep the fight going since the beginning, even when most of the students had returned home. With the help of our respected alumni of AAJMI, we formed a somewhat legitimate body capable enough to keep the movement alive from Jamia Millia Islamia’s front.

It is fairly obvious that you are mistaken as to the “leadership” of this movement. This movement birthed itself in Jamia by its own students and still remains a leaderless one. So, Sharjeel Imam may well be your particular leader, but in the context of this whole movement, he is nothing of the sort. Moreover, he has had no connection with Jamia Millia Islamia or our movement in any way.

Moving on to the slander you subjected the JCC to, we have never demanded that any action be taken against him. We stood by his right to speech, although, we did not agree with his way of speaking. To be precise, here is an excerpt from the press release we wrote in opposition to the actions by the State on him.

Sharjeel Imam.

“Since the beginning of the popular and leaderless anti-CAA, NPR and NRC movement, individuals have been repeatedly targeted by the State, the media and the BJP-RSS in a bid to delegitimize and break up the protests. The latest attempt in this series has been made by the Assam state government, led by the BJP, in accusing one student of JNU, Sharjeel Imam, of sedition and presenting him as a “leader” of the movement.

We also state that while we do not agree with Sharjeel Imam’s political position and do not endorse him in any way, we nevertheless stand in solidarity with him as he faces incarceration for an alleged act of sedition. The nature of this colonial-era law is such that it does not in any way intend to suppress terrorism, but is instead used to target those who challenge the government.”

– Jamia Coordination Committee, Press Release. 24th January 2020.

  1. We did not gain anything by “condemning” Sharjeel’s idea. The JCC is a democratic body which acts as a mouthpiece of the students of this university. And speaking for the majority, we do not wish to appoint any leaders for our struggle. We wish to fight against the State and its menacing behaviours in a way that is effective as a students’ movement.
  2. This was in no way a mere stunt to gain any validation from anyone.
  3. As stated and proven above, we never said the State has any right to proceed against Sharjeel.
  4. We are not a political organization in any way. We do not use our platform for any political agendas.
  5. We are working with organizations all over the country. The reason Jamia is able to continue its struggle efficiently is the functioning of the JCC.
  6. This is nothing but slander. We have never misused Sharjeel’s speech for any purpose.
  7. The Jamia Coordination Committee is working day and night tirelessly for this cause. The question on our conscience is nothing but an insult. Because of our collective effort, we have stunned the Government and halted, for now, what could have been disastrous aftermaths of NRC being implemented. We will continue our struggle.
  8. Every Jamia student has the right to speech and expression. There was an incident of rough handling of some students dissenting against Shashi Tharoor. The JCC condemned the same. We will stand by every student’s right to speech as long as it does not negate someone else’s rights. Moreover, the JCC understands the fact that CAA-NRC-NPR is an attack on the Constitution which will affect many communities along with Muslims. We are fighting against this blatant attack on our Constitution rather than only focusing on this being a Muslim-centric issue.

A humble request to you is that you try and understand the work we are doing. It is easy to criticize others, but there is always more to it than meets the eyes. If you think there are flaws and shortcomings in the Jamia Coordination Committee, you may well be right. Do present us with positive criticism and ideas to help us be the body that channels Jamia’s voice as one.

I am a practising Muslim student and an independent social worker not tied to any ideology or organization. I have been working since the beginning before the JCC was even formed.

I would like to end this letter with a quote that will probably be taken in poor taste by you, but one of the founders of this institute, Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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