Student Protests: Protests by students and others have erupted across the country
- Students at IIT-Madras, Mumbai's TISS, Bengaluru's IISc protesting
- Big protest at university in Lucknow, cops ask students to stay inside
- Top court will hear case on police action on students tomorrow
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today joined growing protests against police crackdown on students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. Students from campuses around the country have come out in strong support of counterparts from Jamia and AMU after Sunday evening's violence over the new citizenship law. Cops in both Delhi and Aligarh have been accused of using excessive force during protests that turned violent. The clashes left a total of nearly 50 students injured and the 100 Jamia students - who had been detained after cops barged into the campus without permission - were only released after a massive show of strength by students outside Delhi Police Headquarters throughout Sunday night. Earlier today the Supreme Court, responding to a request to take note of the cops' actions, said "rioting" must stop. The top court will hear the case tomorrow.
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College students in Tamil Nadu joined the protest on Monday afternoon with members of the Students Federation of India (SFI) gathering outside the Chennai Suburban Railway Terminal. In addition, students of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras took out a procession inside their campus, as did students of city-based Loyola College. In Tiruvannamalai, which is around 200 kilometres from state capital Chennai, students of the Government Arts College held protests and shouted slogans.
In neighbouring Karnataka, thousands of people protested against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, calling it a new "freedom struggle". Students from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the National Law School University gathered at Bangalore Town Hall at 4 pm.
Early this morning students from Uttar Pradesh's Nadwatul Ulama Institute threw stones at cops who tried to stop them from leaving the campus for a protest march. Hundreds of them pushed against the main gates as cops kept them firmly shut. Elsewhere in the state the Integral University was shut for three days after students launched a protest.
In Mumbai students and faculty of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) boycotted classes and field work today. Students of Mumbai University too planned protests.
In other parts of the country, students of Banaras Hindu University in Uttar Pradesh and Chandigarh University have planned protests against the amended Citizenship Act.
The police action on students was "an attack on the soul of the nation", Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said today. Speaking after a two-hour silent protest at Delhi's iconic India Gate to show solidarity with the students, Ms Gandhi Vadra launched a scathing attack on the government, accusing it of impairing the constitution.
Protests by students and others have erupted across the country over the new citizenship law that makes it easier for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to become Indian citizens. Critics say the law discriminates against Muslims and is against secular principles of the constitution.
The trouble started Sunday evening after a protest march by the Jamia students ended in a pitched battle with the police, vandalism and torching of vehicles. The police, who used batons and tear gas to contain the violence, later barged into the university and detained around 100 students. All the detained students were released around 3:30 am.
Chinmoy Biswal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South-East Delhi, defended cops' actions by saying the crowd had refused to disperse peacefully and were being "very, very aggressive and violent". "We had to push them back (and) they started pelting stones and bottles filled with oil. They were not dispersing peacefully at all. They were being very, very aggressive and violent," he said.
Lawyers Indira Jaising and Colin Gonsalves requested the Supreme Court to look into the violence against students and send retired judges to the two universities to investigate what went down. Ms Jaising called it a "serious human rights violation".