Delhi Police detains 10 JNU, DU students demanding release of jailed anti-CAA activists

Delhi Police arrested 10 students from DU and JNU as student bodies across the country on Wednesday held a virtual protest to demand the release of activists arrested for staging a protest against the CAA.

The Delhi Police on Wednesday detained 10 students from the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the University of Delhi for protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Student bodies across the country on Wednesday held a virtual protest to demand the release of activists arrested for staging protest against the CAA.

Five JNU students, as well as five students from DU, were detained by the Maurice Nagar and Vasant Kunj police respectively.

According to the protesters, they were holding up posters and other signs to mark a silent protest when they were picked up the police. Apart from students, a journalist was also detained by the Vasant Kunj police. They were later released.

Wednesday’s detentions come amid a list of other students who have been arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with the anti-CAA protests earlier this year as well as the Delhi riots which took place in February.

Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Jamia students Asif Iqbal Tanha, Gulfisha Khatoon, Jamia Alumni Association President Shifa-Ur-Rehman, JNU student Natasha Narwal, activist Khalid Saifi and Umar Khalid have previously been arrested by the Delhi Police and charged under the draconian UAPA act.

The students were protesting as part of the nationwide call by various student organisations and other rights bodies under the ‘Sab Yaad Rakha Jaayega’ (everything will be remembered) banner.

Carrying placards which read ”’Sab Yaad Rakha Jaayega” and ”Down with CAA-NPR-NRC”, students and activists took to Twitter and posted images expressing solidarity with Jamia Millia Islamia students Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar and Pinjra Tod activists Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, who have been accused of being involved in the conspiracy behind the northeast Delhi riots in February and arrested.

Members of Jawaharlal Nehru Students” Union, Left-affiliated All India Students” Association (AISA), women’s collective Pinjra Tod and others participated in the protest on Twitter.

“Stop Arresting Students & Activists! Stop charging fabricated cases on anti-CAA protestors! Repeal draconian UAPA! Release all political prisoners! Arrest the real perpetrators of Delhi Riots – the likes of Kapil Mishra & Anurag Thakur!” AISA tweeted.

The left outfit also shared pictures of how students, not only in India but also abroad expressed solidarity with the protest.

The student bodies had given a call for protest asking participants to maintain social distancing and carry placards and posters in their locality and share videos and pictures on social media.

Apart from the virtual protest, some students also held symbolic protests inside JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia campuses with some students holding placards.

At Jamia Millia Islamia, the police were deployed in anticipation of the protest but only two to three students turned up.

At DU, the call for organising a protest was given by students of the varsity’s Arts Faculty but the police denied permission, citing restrictions in place owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The members of Students’ Federation of India alleged that they were threatened by the police against holding protest demonstration, a charge denied by police.

The SFI alleged that their student leaders and members were repeatedly threatened by officials of Maurice Nagar police station for the last couple of days and had been asked not to assemble in the Arts Faculty as there would be heavy police deployment.

They were also told that section 144 will be imposed and the students will get arrested and face serious charges, the SFI alleged.

State committee member Varkey said, “Due to the repeated threats we scattered even more and held small gatherings near Meera Bai park and Vijay Nagar, which is a residential area for all the university students.

“The government is using the Covid-19 situation to clamp down voices of dissent and shift the narrative from its own failure to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the curve to the anti-CAA protesters and how anti-national they are.”

Anticipating protests from the students’ organisations, the police had deployed forces at the Arts Faculty of the Delhi University.

Refuting the allegations made by the student group, the police said they contacted the organisers of the protest and requested them not to assemble as section 144 is in force in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic and any such gathering would be a violation.

In university campuses of Delhi, students observed symbolic protest demonstration following the physical distancing norms, the AISA said.

Similarly, students from Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar and other places protested at their homes against the targeting of students.

Few students of Jamia Millia Islamia assembled and raised their concerns over the arrest of their fellow students. Students raised placard with demands of “Release All Political Prisoners”. Students of other universities, including Ambedkar University, also raised similar concerns.

Source: India Today

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