Blood, Sweat and Teargas

Recounting police brutality in Jamia

19 December, 2019

On 9 December, the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The bill excludes members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh, from the definition of an illegal immigrant under Indian citizenship law. Effectively, Muslims from these three countries would continue to be treated as illegal immigrants, and would be denied the benefits of the bill.

The next day, protests against the bill erupted across cities in India. A day later, the Rajya Sabha passed the bill, and on 12 December, the president gave it his assent, turning it into an act of law. On 15 December, Delhi Police stormed the campus of Jamia Millia University, reportedly entering the campus premises without permission. Police personnel hit every student they could find, even in places such as the library, the mosque, the canteen and the bathrooms.

"The entire Jamia is our home. And they are ruining everything in there," Hashmat Naiyareen, at student at Jamia Millia Islamia, told The Caravan. "Whenever I want to find refuge, silence ... I would just sit there and I’d be at peace, because that library is very silent. And it’s peaceful when it’s silent. But this time, the silence was deafening.”