The students on December 21 are planning a statewide protest the aim is to force the hand of the Telangana government not to implement CAA and NRC in the state.

Hyd students get ready for more protests believe their agitation will sway govt on CAA
news Politics Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 18:50

At the main gate of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) on Sunday night the students kept a strict vigil over who entered or left the campus. “We don’t want our protest to be hijacked by anyone from the outside,” said Sameer, a second-year arts student manning the gates. Over a 1,000 students had come out in protest against the Delhi police action within Jamia university a few hours ago, the student’s community in Hyderabad were in a state of panic, there were reports about casualties which later proved false.

The MANUU students were to sit for semester exams from Tuesday, and the protests were to take a back seat, but the students decided to sit through their protest, all night on Sunday.

By Monday, the MANUU students would get support from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) students who would take out a protest march that evening. By Tuesday EFLU and Osmania University also joined the protests. The  students were protesting against the implementation of Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the proposed nationwide NRC. The students say they fear when the two are combined, it would result in mass isolaton of Muslim communities in India.

On December 21, students are planning a statewide protest, and efforts are on to organise and agitate with assistance from as many university students as possible. They have faith in the judiciary and in the social utility of protests but are aware of their limitations too.

“In Hong Kong, the pro-democracy protests were able to go on for 150 days, if the government doesn’t back down on CAA and NRC then we will have to keep protesting till they give up on these faulty policies," says 22-year-old Shoaib, who is not part of any union but was present at the Monday protest at MANUU.

There is hope among the MANUU students that the Centre would back down on the implementation of CAA and NRC. They base their optimism on the embarrassment faced by the Modi government when the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abbe backed out from an India visit owing to the protesting against CAA in Assam, “Even the Bangladesh foreign minister backed off from a visit. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has made a comment, the international media is also covering this. It has given us hope that the Centre will be stop these moves owing to international pressure,” adds Shoaib.

Outside the MANNU gates, the Cyberabad police stand and watch the students protest, they have been instructed not to let the students protest outside or take out a procession. “If you keep your protests inside the university campus, we will not do anything. Remember we have a deal,” a police officer could be overheard telling the students outside the gate.

The students at UoH joined the protests against the police action in Jamia university only by late noon on Monday. A small group of 50 to 80 marched towards the Gachibowli stadium from the UoH campus with police escort. The MANUU students were supposed to take out a procession and meet the UoH students halfway, however, unlike their UoH counterparts they were denied police permission.

“We didn’t get enough time to rally people together,” says Gopi Swami, general secretary, UoH students union, "We are in talks with students from other universities, we are organising", he adds.

When asked what the students intend to achieve through their protests here in Telangana, Tahir Jamal a fourth-year doctorate student with the (Students Islamic Organisation) said, “We know that the Centre may not listen to our protests. The bill has already been passed in both houses and the President has signed it, its an Act now. The best we can do is protest as much as we can so that the Telangana state government chooses not to implement the CAA and NRC in the state,”

As of on Tuesday the West Bengal state government had instructed state departments to freeze work related to National Population Register in the state. The students are hoping to achieve a similar outcome in Telangana, but are aware of their limitations. The students say to have the desired impact, they would require help from students from a technical education background and also from students from rural Telangana.

“People who study in rural areas also know about CAA and NRC and are aware of its impacts on them but they lack guidance and leadership. Even though they have anger in their minds they don't know how to express it. There is a need for a better mobilisation by student unions at the grassroots,” says Gopi accepting that outside urban spaces the protests and counter-reaction to the implementation of CAA and NRC has been fairly muted.“Expect for SFI and ABVP, no other student unions have reached rural Telangana. ABVP will not support, they are in favour of the Act,” he adds.

The unions have so far been able to rope in students from colleges at Vikarabad, Adilabad and Zaheerabad to join their protests, efforts are on to add more to their volume.

The students at MANUU as on Wednesday also boycotted their exams and are still protesting, but restricted within their campus. Osmania University and EFLU students have also joined hands in protest and for now, the students are marching on.

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