Oxford Students Protest India’s Citizenship Amendment Act

first_imgProtests against the bill erupted in cities and at universities across India. During a protest at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, police were accused of firing tear gas at the library, locking the gates of the university’s campus, and using batons on students. Excessive police force is also believed to have been used at a number of other universities. Those attending the event joined protesters across the world, expressing solidarity with students who had been subject to police brutality as they carried out demonstrations in universities across India. Yesterday students gathered outside the Radcliffe Camera to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act, a bill passed in India’s Parliament which has been widely criticised as Islamophobic. By Tuesday at 8:00 am the statement had received more than300 signatures by members and alumni of Oxford University. “OIS celebrates India’s unity in diversity; we are saddened thatthis spirit of unity is under threat, and we hope that the right to peacefulprotest is upheld.” #JamiaProtests #JamiaMilliaUniversity @adilhossain pic.twitter.com/D9ynVJ2wzK— Tania Saeed (@taniasaeed) December 17, 2019 A statement released by the Oxford India Society said: “OxfordIndia Society stands in solidarity with our fellow students at universitycampuses across India who are protesting against the unjust CitizenshipAmendment Act, and we condemn police brutality against these protestors.center_img The protest outside the Radcliffe Camera, which endured the rain this afternoon, was attended by approximately one hundred despite term ending for undergraduates last week. Placards at the event read “selective democracy is not democracy”, “trust anyone but Delhi Police” and “unconditional solidarity with Jamia, Amu, DU [Delhi University] and others”. Another statement open for signature by Oxford students alsocalled for an end to violence against those protesting, as well as criticisingthe CAA: “We, the students, scholars and alumni of the University of Oxford,are in solidarity with students exercising their fundamental right to dissentand protest across India.“We condemn the violence unleashed on students in Jamia Millia Islamia (NewDelhi), Aligarh Muslim University (Aligarh), Delhi University (New Delhi),Cotton University (Assam) and other educational institutions. The use of policeforce against students exercising their fundamental right to protest inuniversity spaces and elsewhere is a direct attack on the foundations of ademocratic society. We demand an immediate end to all forms of violence againstthe protesting students and call for accountability of those responsible.“Over the last week, we have seen many peaceful protests and demonstrationsacross India against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. The Act stipulatespreferential treatment to religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh andAfghanistan in the process of acquiring Indian citizenship, while explicitlyexcluding Muslims from its purview. This explicit and blatant exclusion ofMuslims from citizenship upends the long-standing fundamental ideals of equality,liberty, pluralism and secularism enshrined in the Constitution of India. Welend our voices in support of the fight against this immoral andunconstitutional law and call for its immediate withdrawal.“As we watch, with extreme concern, the events unfolding in India, we lend ourunconditional support for the students and others peacefully taking to thestreets to fight injustice.” “We demand cessation of violence by the policeand their complete withdrawal from the university premises.“We demand an immediate, independent, and robustinvestigation into the abuse of power by the Delhi Police, Uttar PradeshPolice, and the Central Reserve Police Force.“We demand that student protestors be allowed tocontinue to protest peacefully in exercise of their fundamental rights underthe Indian Constitution without any threat of use of force by the police orother law enforcement agencies.“We call upon officers of the Indian Police andAdministrative Services to fulfill their duty to uphold the Constitution ofIndia, and to resist any political demand to act in abuse of the powers thathave been conferred upon them; and, to ensure police forces under their commandact strictly in accordance with the constitutional, legal and ethicalconstraints that bind them.“We call on the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr.Amit Shah, to immediately take these necessary steps to curb police brutality,or resign.” As well as at Oxford, today students gathered in protest ata number of campuses across the UK and the world including Harvard, Yale andMIT. A statement was released on behalf of students and alumni protesting atAmerican universities. The statement criticised the use of force by policeresponding to the peaceful protests, and made a number of demands of the Indiangovernment: The Citizenship (Amendment) Act passed through India’s Parliament on 11th December this year. The bill is designed to enable the provision of citizenship as a right to religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have suffered from, or who stand the risk of suffering from religious persecution. However, the bill specifically nominates six religions as being eligible for citizenship: Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians. The bill has been criticised for its omission of Muslim refugees, which violates India’s constitutional commitment to secularism.last_img read more

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