[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE students and alumni of various universities across the United States come in solidarity with the students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia Millia Islamia (Jamia) who were attacked by the police when they were protesting against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
In their statement, they condemned the Police and security forces for using violence in shutting down the students and called the incident a gross violation of human rights, both under Indian Constitution as well as the International Human Rights Law.
The statement read:
“The right to protest is a cornerstone of a constitutional democracy and is safeguarded as a fundamental right under Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(b) of the Constitution of India. The right of all people to express their ideas and opinions through the medium of protest is also guaranteed through a number of core international human rights provisions, including the right to free expression under Article 19 of the ICCPR, which has been ratified by India”.
In the joint statement, they called the CAA “unconstitutional” and “discriminatory” and called for a student-led protest at Harvard University today, i.e., December 17, 2019.
They have also condemned the use of violence against protestors in Assam where allegedly five people have died, including two minor boys who were shot by the police.
The statement also raised a concern about the manner in which these incidents are being viewed by the Supreme Court of India. The statement read,
“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“, the statement read.
Further, the statement laid down a set of demands as a call for action:
- We demand the cessation of violence by the police and their complete withdrawn from the university premises.
- We demand an immediate, independent, and robust investigation into the abuse of power by the Delhi Police, Uttar Pradesh Police, and the Central Reserve Police Force.
- We demand that student protestors be allowed to continue to protest peacefully in the exercise of their fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution without any threat of use of force by the police or other law enforcement agencies.
- We call upon officers of the Indian Police and Administrative Services to fulfil their duty to uphold the Constitution of India, and to resist any political demand to act in abuse of the powers that have been conferred upon them; and, to ensure police forces under their command act strictly in accordance with the constitutional, legal and ethical constraints that bind them.
- We call on the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Amit Shah, to immediately take these necessary steps to curb police brutality or resign.
The statement is signed by more than 400 students and alumni from Harvard University, South Asian Law Students Association of Harvard Law School, Columbia University, Yale University, New York University, Stanford University, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, Brown University, Georgetown University, University of Pennsylvania, Fletcher Progressive Initiative of Tufts, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Johns Hopkins University, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, Berkeley, Purdue University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Southern California, and University of Illinois.