A significant number of alumni from the National Law School of India University (NLSIU, Bangalore) and the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS, Kolkata) have come out in support of the protesting students of Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. In statements of solidarity, the alumni of the two law schools have condemned the police attacks at the Universities in the wake of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
The NLSIU alumni statement reads,
“As professionals trained in the law, we are deeply cognizant of the impact that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) will have on the poor and religious minorities. By purporting to extend citizenship to only certain religious communities while excluding others, the CAA cannot claim to be a secular legislation. Together with the proposed NRC, this would mean that Indian Muslims who are unable to establish their citizenship through the onerous documentary requirements will be stripped of their citizenship rights.”
Signed by 538 alumni from different batches of NLSIU, the statement asserts that CAA and NRC are unconstitutional and “contrary to the guarantee of equality before the law and to the secular values” of the country. Furthermore, the statement makes the following demands:
(i) Repeal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 and withdrawal of the proposed National Register of Citizens;
(ii) Withdrawal of all police and paramilitary forces from university campuses;
(iii) Independent inquiry and accountability of police and paramilitary officials involved in the crackdown on university campuses including JMI, AMU, DU, Cotton University and others, and those under whose command the crackdowns took place;
(iv) Co-operation of all university administrations in securing spaces for their students to exercisetheir fundamental rights; and
(v) Withdrawal of all prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure that the fundamental right to dissent is respected and protected.
The NUJS alumni statement echoes these sentiments, stating that the CAA and NRC are unconstitutional, and that their implementation would be a threat to the very fabric of the country.
“The collective impact of the CAA and NRC threatens the very fabric of India. It runs afoul of our constitutional principles, our obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the cornerstone of international refugee law-- the principle of non-refoulement. We view the CAA and its implementation with a strong sense of foreboding--one that may polarise our beloved nation beyond repair.”
The NUJS statement further requests the government the acknowledge and respect the fundamental right to peaceful protest and allow the free exercise of this right to all its citizens.
Earlier this week, the student bodies of NLSIU, NALSAR, HNLU, NLU-O, NUSRL, NUALS, MNLU Mumbai and MNLU Nagpur issued a statement of solidarity in support of the students from Jamia and AMU.
Notably, even students and alumni of US-based institutions such as Harvard, Yale, and Columbia had come forward to condemn the violence, in a joint statement signed by over 400 students.
[Read the statement issued by NLSIU alumni]
[Read the statement issued by NUJS alumni]