Social activists, human rights defender, journalists, lawyers and students gathered at the Press Club of India on December 20 to recall the police brutality against students at Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University during historic demonstrations against CAA and NRC in the national capital and various parts of the country.
The event was organised by Concerned Citizens and the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), to express solidarity with all those victims and those who are imprisoned for using their democratic right to speak out against attacks on minorities and the oppressed.
“Two visions of India existed during the freedom movement. One was constitutional vision which was based on democracy and the idea of pluralism where everyone was treated equally. The other was the vision of RSS, in which some people would be viewed as superior citizens while others degraded, depending on their religious beliefs. And whatever we are facing today is the manifestation of that vision and all the hate campaign against Muslims in particular and the minorities in general is in accordance to that vision. That vision is being implemented more bluntly and aggressively, said Hartosh Singh Bal, senior journalist and political editor at The Caravan.
“Today is the day to recall ourselves how three years ago people were brutalised for peacefully protesting against the CAA. The police action demonstrated the level of impunity they had attained. Everyone in the society should be concerned about this. The manner in which the police force and various agencies and institutions of government are treating minorities and Muslims in particular resembles the idea of a deep state and police state where Muslims are being treated as enemy and not as citizens,” said Nadeem Khan of APCR.
Senior journalist Pamela Philipose questioned why a government that presents itself as a dynamic democracy on the international stage has to repress opposition locally. She continued, “The anti-CAA movement demonstrated the people’s sense of unity. We must proudly recall that the first people to come out against the Citizenship Amendment Act were students at Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University.
While prisons are supposed to shatter people’s spirits, according to the student activist, Warda Beg of Aligarh Muslim University, who quoted Angela Davis, “It has failed to break the spirits of our comrades who were arrested for protesting against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act.”
Haris Javed, a student from Jamia Millia Islamia, narrated the horrifying details of the police brutality on December 13 and 15, 2019.