Over 100 Activists, 35 Policemen Wounded in Protests Against India’s New Citizenship Law
By Staff, Agencies
Violent protests against a new citizenship law in the Indian capital on Sunday left four public transport buses burnt to ashes and several damaged, with police even alleged to have entered the campus of a premier university.
Police lobbed tear gas shells, resorted to cane-charging, and allegedly dragged students out of Jamia Milia Islamia, a premier university in the southern part of the national capital. More than 100 activists and 35 policemen, including some senior officers were injured.
Later, students from various universities in the national capital and political activists supporting them staged a sit-in through the night outside the police HQ, demanding action against the policemen.
Najma Akhtar, Vice Chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia denied the students had made any call for protest. She claimed the protesters, who torched and damaged buses were from neighboring residential settlements, saying “they [protesters from neighboring residential colonies] clashed with police and got inside the campus after breaking the gate of the university".
“Police couldn't differentiate between the protesters and students sitting in the library. Many students and staff were injured. There was so much ruckus that police couldn't take permission. I hope for peace and safety of our students", Akhtar said.
The university has, meanwhile, announced the suspension of classes until 5 January 2020 in view of Sunday’s incidents.
In the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh, a solidarity march by students from Aligarh Muslim University, against alleged police violence toward their counterparts in New Delhi ended in clashes with police. Ten police personnel and at least 20 students were reportedly wounded in the violence that went on late into the night.
In the northeastern region of India, the hub of anti-citizenship law protests, prohibitory orders has been relaxed during the day time for the second day on Monday in Guwahati, the capital of Assam. Indian Railways have announced the cancellation of several trains in view of the protests.
Protests against the controversial Citizenship [Amendment] Act 2019 spread to several parts of India. The law enacted last week grants citizenship to illegal immigrants from six religious minorities – Hindus, Parsis, Jains, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs but not Muslims, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, if they arrived in India prior to 2015.