Paying a tearful tribute to “the martyrs of the struggle against National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), on its third anniversary, students of Jawaharlal Nehru University recollected the days of violent assault on citizenship protests across India.
Over 100 Muslims lost their lives in police killings and Hindutva violence during historic protests against CAA and NRC in 2019 and 2020.
The event organized by Muslim Students Federation JNU campus unit asserted the resilience and continuity of the anti-NRC-CAA struggle that has captured the public and political imagination of the Indian republic.
Tuesday’s gathering at Sabarmati Dhabha reflected how memory recollects and resists against the gradual subsidence of the movement.
“From the Constituent Assembly to our ongoing petition against CAA in the Supreme Court, we are in a relentless struggle for citizenship rights. And students have always inspired us to fight”. ET Muhammed Basheer, Indian Union Muslim League member of Parliament said in his address to the students.
MSF is the student body of Indian Union Muslim League.
“It’s important for us to survive the repressive state, their fabricated charges and propaganda. Our refusal against forgetting constitutes a solemn step in that pursuit,” Professor Apoorvanand reminded the students.
“We are here for our fellows who are now behind the bars, like Sharjeel, Umar, Gulfisha, Khalid Saifi and many others. We are here for all those who were martyred at North East Delhi Pogrom,” Muslim activist and social worker Aasif Mujataba said while recollecting the stories of Shaheen Bagh and other demonstrations in Delhi.
The event started out with “Wall of Martyrs” an exhibition depicting stories of dozens of Muslims those who lost lives in the police killings across India, northeast Delhi pogrom and numerous NRC-induced deaths in Assam.
“It’s important for us to imagine the struggle with its grown structures of an insuppressible movement that withstand fatigue or failing saturation. That’s why we remember the colossal loss of human lives in RSS’ violent reaction to the protest. Uttar Pradesh itself had 25+ deaths, including our Sahib Aftab Alam in Kanpur,” one of the student organisers said.
Exhibition also featured “Unsecular stories of India’s Citizenship Regimes”, a series of legislative interventions by Muslim legislators in the matters citizenship laws, including Mahboob Ali Baig, B Pocker, GM Banatwla, Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait, Abdul Wahab MP, ET Muhammed Basheer. The series uncovered how India’s citizenship rights were marred with religious biases since constituent assembly debates through the turbulent crisis of 1970s to 2020s.