Hundreds of students gathered at the Osmania University in Hyderabad on Monday evening to protest against the Centre's Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Holding placards against the BJP-led Centre and national flags, the students gathered in front of the iconic Arts College building on campus and said that the move was against the spirit of the Indian Constitution.
The event began with the national anthem, following which several speakers from Professor Vishweshwar Rao to Dalit student leader Sharath Chamar Naliganti took to the stage.
While Professor Vishweshwar Rao said that he would continue challenging the move in court, and would not allow the NRC to be implemented in Telangana, Sharath said, "The CAA and NRC is not a Muslim problem alone. We must all come together to oppose it."
Those who gathered also recalled OU student leader George Reddy, and his slogan â€śJeena hain toh marna seekho, kadam kadam par ladna seekhoâ€ť (Be ready to die if you want to live, learn to fight at every step) and said that they would continue the struggle and the fight for justice.
George Reddy, known as the Che Guevara of Osmania University, was a fiery student leader who founded the Progressive and Democratic Students Union (PSDU) and was killed in 1972 on campus. He was also the subject of a recent film.
In anti-CAA and #NRC protest, #OsmaniaUni's student leader Sharat Naliganti Chamar sings a song remembering George Reddy known as OU Che Guevara who was killed by a lumpen gang allegedly backed by right wing student group. #CAA_NRC_Protest #Osmania #Hyderabad pic.twitter.com/NvH5DmdWBmâ€” CharanTeja (@CharanT16) December 23, 2019
Ladeeda Farzana and Aysha Renna, the two female students of Jamia Millia Islamia, whose video standing up to to the police during an anti-CAA protest, also addressed the gathering. The students had arrived in Hyderabad on Saturday to address a meeting that was held at Darussalam, where they shared the stage with Hyderabad MP Asadauddin Owaisi.
Demanding that all those who have been detained during the protests must be released immediately, the two students appealed to the chief ministers of the non-BJP ruled states to come together, to fight against the Centre. They also stressed on the need for a larger alliance, by joining hands and expressing solidarity with Dalits and other marginalised communities.
The â€śMaha Garjanaâ€™â€™ by the students also saw the gathering read out the Preamble to the Constitution of India.
Posters from Osmania University anti-CAA&NRC protest. pic.twitter.com/HOGjAPEI6bâ€” CharanTeja (@CharanT16) December 23, 2019
Students from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) and Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) also attended the event.
Pointing out that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had said that he would not implement NRC in his state, the students appealed to his Telangana counterpart, K Chandrasekhar Rao, to also publicly take a stand.
While the Hyderabad police had given permission for the meeting, it had beefed up security around campus and deployed several personnel on both main entrances of the university.
Many said that they were even stopped at the gates, and only allowed inside after they showed their student ID cards.
After the event, some students cleared the trash generated from the event in black bags, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah's names written on them.
While the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Parliament, it has since maintained silence on the issue.