The Morning After, Jamia Back on the Streets
TC On the spot at Jamia Millia Islamia
NEW DELHI: “When it started, I was inside the campus, gate no. 8. Suddenly, a gas bomb fell near my foot. I felt that my foot was no more. The police came running with laathis. I told them, ‘let me go; I haven’t done anything.’ But they didn’t listen to me,” recounts Suhevalan, an engineering student at Jamia Millia Islamia.
“After they [the police] went on ahead, two boys came and took me to the hospital,” Suhevalan says. What now? "Until my protest ends, I won't go anywhere. I came again to (here) for this protest."
(Suhevalan on Monday morning)
The morning after Sunday’s police crackdown on Jamia Millia Islamia, students and alumni of the university have once again gathered in large numbers - peacefully protesting the brutality that was unleashed on campus.
‘No NRC’, ‘No CAB’ are scribbled on metro pillars and walls, and even on the road outside the University Campus.
Students hold up copies of the preamble of India, and placards stating ‘Unity is Strength’, ‘Who’s Next?’ and ‘Jamia is Bleeding.’ Students are seen holding hands - forming a human chain around the campus walls.
Female students were present in large numbers on Monday morning, despite Sunday’s attack - from which reports of alleged sexual abuse and assault by police forces have emerged on social media.
Many of them were hesitant to speak to the media. "We won't tell you anything about ourselves. If something happens to us, then no one will come save us. No media, no one. We won't tell you who we are but we are students. We're all Indians. That's all," says one female student - refusing to be identified.
"We are here today because they have put out the NRC; separating us. Why are they separating us?" she says.
"We are not saying this. Hindu and muslims are brothers. We never did anything... We have been here since 4 days . They are beating students up so severely. Students are dying. Then no one comes. Now everyone comes to take an interview. We study in the library. Why would we vandalise our own University? Does anyone vandalise their own home? Then why is the media saying students broke the library?" she asks.
"This is the fourth day of our protest at Jamia. Yesterday was supposed to be a very peaceful march and it was peaceful,” says a social work masters student, who wants to remain anonymous. “The march went all the way to Aashram. There was another march organised by women in Batla House area,” she recounts.
“It was around 3:30 or 4 pm that there was a lathi charge near Aashram. Police surrounded the boys in the march from all directions and started to beat them, thrash them. It was very barbaric,” she says. “The same happened with the women who were part of Batla House. These were peaceful marches; I wouldn’t even call them protests,” she says.
“We heard that buses had been torched - we thought the protesters had done it, but thanks to the video that was recorded, we know Delhi Police did it,” she says - referring to videos circulating on social media."As the police entered the girls hostel earlier, they are now forcefully making the girls sign a memorandum saying that the Police did not harm them," she said.
Several students were seriously injured in Sunday’s crackdown, and many detained by police. The police high handedness prompted protests across the country - with thousands gathering outside the Delhi Police headquarters in New Delhi, and solidarity marches and protests were held at Mumbai, Lucknow, Jadavpur, Hyderabad, Benaras and several other cities. In Aligarh, police marched into Aligarh Muslim University, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at student protesters.
At the time of writing, there is palpable tension outside Jamia Millia Islamia, with police surrounding the peaceful protesters.
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Meanwhile, The Citizen’s NAMIT KUMAR and JYOTI THAKUR are at Holy Family Hospital, where several injured students are being treated. A photograph from the spot shows large police presence at the hospital.