New Delhi: Students of Harvard University in the US have written an open letter to the government of India protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 and condemned the “violent suppression of student protesters”.
Showing solidarity to students and citizens who stood against the Act with strong dissent and opposition, the letter emphasised that protest and dissent are inherent to democracy. “Protests are inconvenient and disruptive, but they sustain the secular and democratic fabric of our nation,” it said.
“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,” said the letter signed by over 100 students and affiliates of Harvard University.
This comes after a scuffle broke out between protesting students of Jamia Milia Islamia and security forces in New Delhi on Sunday leading to several casualties.
Students from campuses around the country came out in support of Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University after Sunday evening’s violent clashes.
“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. It is important to note that these events are in violation of rights to due process, public association, and dissent,” it said.
The letter called Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 a “deeply regrettable act of legislation” and “in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India that calls for equal protection under the law for all persons.”
Citizens of the country along with hoards of students took to the streets to protest against the amended citizenship law that makes it easier for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to become Indian citizens.