All over India protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act have been taking place, led by students on campuses across the country for nearly a week. The protests have seemingly put enough pressure on the government that the Centre has reportedly asked centrally-funded universities to ‘monitor’ the social media accounts of its students and faculty.
According to a report by The Print, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has told universities to specifically keep tabs on students' Twitter, Facebook as well as WhatsApp groups. This move is reportedly to ensure that the universities keep themselves updated regarding the activities of its students and teachers.
On December 15, the violent police crackdown on students protesting the CAA sparked a movement across the country that saw multiple educational institutions joins in, including in Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, Bombay and Kharagpur, Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, and Bengaluru.
Quoting officials in the HRD Ministry, the report states that verbal instructions have been sent to top management of universities, including registrars and vice-chancellors. The list of universities asked to follow these instructions to monitor social media accounts of students includes those that have seen protests in the wake of the CAA’s passage into law: Jawaharlal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Jamia Milia Islamia, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), and Delhi University.
In fact, it was the crackdown by the police in Jamia and AMU that prompted the nationwide student movement condemning police action and the CAA.
The report further adds that HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has asked universities and political parties to keep students away from protests.
While the report by The Print was refuted by the Ministry, the digital publication has said that it stands by it.