Delhi: Terming the police action on the students of Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University a “violent suppression of protestors”, more than 100 students of Harvard University have written an open letter to the government, condemning Sunday’s clashes and also voicing concerns on the new Citizenship law.
The Harvard students showed solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), stressing that that “protest and dissent are inherent to democracy”.
“Protests are inconvenient and disruptive, but they sustain the secular and democratic fabric of our nation,” the letter reads.
“The violent suppression of protesters by the police, the use of teargas, lathi charges, and physical assault in response to peaceful dissent, and the police forces’ forceful entry into university campuses and consequent Internet blockades there are all deeply reprehensible,” the Harvard students said.
The police in both Delhi and Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh have been accused of using excessive force during protests that turned violent. The clashes left a total of nearly 50 students injured and the 100 Jamia students – who had been detained after cops barged into the campus without permission – were only released after a massive show of strength by students outside Delhi Police Headquarters throughout Sunday night.
“We are shocked and deeply concerned about many of the anecdotal reports being shared on police brutality aimed at breaking the spirit of protesters including anecdotes of police attacks on female protesters,” the Harvard students said.
Protests by students and others have erupted across the country over the new citizenship law that makes it easier for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to become Indian citizens. Critics say the law discriminates against Muslims and is against secular principles of the constitution.
Students from campuses around the country have come out in strong support of counterparts from Jamia and AMU after Sunday evening’s violent clashes.