Apart from a growing list of Indian Universities and educational institutions, students and alumni from US-based Universities have also come forward to condemn the recent spate of violence following protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, particularly in view of the recent police clampdown on students of the Jamia Milia Islamia University (Jamia) and the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
A joint statement issued by over 400 students from various universities across the United States, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford and Tufts, reads,
“Reports and accounts by journalists, students, lawyers, and activists (including credible information shared online) reveal horrific and excessive use of force by police and paramilitary against students. Any use of force by law enforcement must be within the strict confines of the principles of legality, legitimacy, necessity and proportionality under International Human Rights Law.
By every account, it appears that police and paramilitary, both at Jamia Milia Islamia University, and at Aligarh Muslim University, have used violence and pursued unlawful and reckless tactics against student protestors in violation of protections under the Constitution of India and International Human Rights law. The entry of police and paramilitary into University premises, indiscriminate attacks within the premises of the University including releasing tear gas in libraries, and brutal use of force against civilians is a blatant violation of the law and can only shock the conscience of any democratic society.”
Further, protest has also been registered to the use of violence in Assam following similar protests, as well as the internet shutdown imposed in the state.
“We also condemn the use of violence against protestors in Assam where five people have died, including two minor boys who were shot by the police. This combined with the unlawful denial of access to the internet in the state has completely blocked news reports of events on the ground, including the ability of the protestors to represent their demands and report unlawful police action.“
In this backdrop, concern has also been expressed over the manner in which these incidents are being viewed by the Supreme Court of India. As per the statement,
“We are deeply concerned about the statement of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India terming these protests as ‘riots’ and characterising this situation as simply one for the police to handle as a law and order problem, without recognising the violation of the rights of protestors, and especially the degree of violence unleashed on them.”
In view of these concerns, the students and alumni have called for the addressal of the following demands, which includes a demand that Home Minister Amit Shah step down from his post if his not able to take necessary steps to curb police brutality. The demands made in the statement are as follows.