The question that is uppermost on most people’s minds today is what will happen to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and how long will the protests continue? The home minister Amit Shah declaring that the Act will not be withdrawn and the government will not move an inch, regardless of the protests, is a direct challenge to the people of India. With the Supreme Court looking the other way, taking up challenge thrown by Shah can only mean one thing now: if the Act does not go, the regime must. Mass movements have been known to bring down oppressive regimes, and even in the recent past, we have seen that happen in different parts of the world.
Subsequent developments, however, also indicate that often forces emerge that basically take advantage of the mass movements to hijack them and install equally unpopular regimes – a matter we need to discuss very seriously. I will briefly return to this ‘political question’ later as it is of utmost importance that we grasp the possibilities and dangers inherent in the present moment.
As students, alumni and faculty members of the University of York, UK, we stand in solidarity with all students in India who are engaged in protests against the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. We believe that the right to dissent, protest and demonstrate are fundamental rights integral to all democracies. Articles 19 (1) (a) and 19 (1) (b) of the Indian Constitution explicitly state that the right to protest is a fundamental right. Such a right is safeguarded in international human rights conventions as well.
The wave of protest in India in response to The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) passed on 11th December 2019 is being violently suppressed. Protesters claim the Act fundamentally alters the concept of Indian citizenship and is against the secular and inclusive India Constitution as it introduces discrimination against Muslims and other ethnic minorities. Protests are happening across all the states in the Northeast of India and have spread to the university campuses in the rest of the country. There have been deaths and injuries in the Northeast and the government has imposed an internet blackout effectively cutting them off from the rest of the world. Injuries have also been reported from JamiaMillia and AMU. On the 19th December, students, noted academicians, activists and political leaders have been detained by the police, following peaceful protests. Continue reading Dublin City University Faculty and Students Condemn Repression of Peaceful Protests in India→