“Together, the CAA and the NRC threaten to reshape citizenship along religious lines in a manner India has historically rejected,” a statement from Yale read.

Jamia AMU protests Students from Yale Oxford condemn use of police force
news Protests Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 14:06

150 students from various colleges under Yale affirmed their solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and of other universities who are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Police entered the campuses of universities — allegedly without permission — and used teargas and lathi charge on protesters. 

“The foundation of a free, democratic, and just Republic of India rests on several key pillars enshrined in the Constitution. Foremost among these are secularism, abrogated by the enactment of the CAA, and freedom of speech, diminished by the government's violent crackdown on peaceful protesters,” the statement read. 

The statement from the students of Yale stated that the Act has introduced “religion as a criterion for Indian citizenship for the first time in Indian history.” It goes on to add that this cannot be seen in isolation, but in the wider context of the government’s decision to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC). “Together, the CAA and the NRC threaten to reshape citizenship along religious lines in a manner India has historically rejected,” the statement said.  

It added that the process of making citizenship easier to acquire for non-Muslims from a select group of countries is unjust and “is even more obvious in a political environment where Indian Muslims are routinely asked to prove their loyalty to India, and where minorities face persecution in many parts of the subcontinent.”

“This has reduced many of India’s Muslims to second-class citizens,” it added. 

Furthermore, it adds that people have the right to express their concerns, and with this in mind, “believe that the violence against protesters constitutes police brutality”.

“That the police has been directed to target a particular subset of protesters is doubly concerning. The violence unleashed against protesters is an attack on the Indian Constitution and on the rights of every Indian. Independent of their views on the CAA itself, citizens must recognise this violence as a violation of their constitutional rights,” it stated. 

The Yale statement added that they “reject the attempts of the government to divide Indian society” by framing the current situation as one that is between Muslims and others, or is between students and citizens. 

“Indians from all walks of life came together all over India to defend the rights of their fellow citizens—in line with the spirit of India. This bill was passed and these police actions condoned by a democratically elected government. But the use of democratic institutions to take away democratic rights is indefensible,” it stated. 

Other institutions such as Columbia, Stanford and the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, have issued statements condemning the police action on protesters. 

On Tuesday, students of Oxford University also released a statement in solidarity with the students exercising their right to protest. “The use of police force against students exercising their fundamental right to protest in university spaces and elsewhere is a direct attack on the foundations of a democratic society. We demand an immediate end to all forms of violence against the protesting students and call for accountability of those responsible,” it said.