Students of IIT Madras stood in solidarity with their counterparts across the country in an hour-long protest held on campus on Monday. Over 50 students gathered at the campus to raise their voice against the police violence on students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Jamia Millia University and Aligarh Muslim University. The students also raised the issue of violence in the northeast in the aftermath of the legislation’s passage in both Houses of parliament last week.
Speaking to TNM, one student said, “We have seen what happened during the Jallikattu protests at the Marina beach in Chennai. People in plain clothes joined the police side and attacked the students. The students were bleeding and heavily wounded. This violence by the state has to be condemned. We will protest until they stop this.”
The students called on an end to fascism in addition to saying ‘Muslim lives matter’. The controversial Act has lead to protests that have rocked the country in recent days. The Act will not treat persecuted minorities from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian faiths from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh as illegal immigrants, guaranteeing them a path to citizenship. Muslims, however, are excluded as are other persecuted minorities from other neighbouring countries.
“They have entered inside and attacked people who were not even protesting. This is completely unacceptable. This is a warning to all of us that even the smallest dissent will be quelled. We must all stand up and demand justice,” said one student.
Campus security dressed in khaki were present at the protest, watching the students raise slogans against the government. They students tore and symbolically burnt a copy of the Act's gazette notification. The students marched from Gajendra Circle to the Himalaya mess where they took turns to speak about the protests. The students, both affiliated and unaffiliated to groups on campus, also called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah to take moral responsibility and resign immediately.
Students from IITs are not often seen protesting. However, this time around, students from IIT Kanpur and IIT Bombay also agitated in support of students who were attacked.
"They struck down the students' retaliation at Jadavpur University. We didn't respond. They hiked the MTech fee, we didn't respond. Manhandled the student protesters at JNU, we didn't respond. And now its JMI and AMU. Our commitment towards the students' community is under huge jeopardy if we don't respond now. Therefore let's come together for a campus wide march in solidarity with students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University," a poster by students from IIT Kanpur read.