The students of Jamia Millia Islamia today protested against the administration for forcing them to switch off the lights after Prime Minister Modi’s appeal to the country to switch off lights and light up candles to defeat the pandemic.
“Jamia has always questioned injustice and ignorance. Now, when the country is in a medical emergency, and there is a lack of health care facilities amidst the growing number of positive cases everyday, we find it our responsibility to speak up against these acts such as ‘lighting candles’ which are merely an act to distract the public from the actual crisis.”, says Ayisha Nourin a student of final year MA Media Governance and a resident of Bi Amma Old hostel, Jamia Millia University.
After the prime minister has appealed the country to switch off the lights at homes and light up candles and torches so as to display what he calls the “collective resolve” of the people in fighting the COvid 19 virus, the Jamia VC issued a circular asking it’s students and staffs to do so.
“We did not want to be a part of this whole drama. But we were given candles and were forced to switch off the lights at 9 pm.”, Noureen adds.
The students say they tried to communicate their dissent with the caretakers but they said they could not do anything because it is an order from above.
The caretakers even requested the students to corporate as they feared losing their jobs if they resisted.
The students say that the government should behave more responsible when there is a lack of health care equipments, food and shelter in the country.
“We have seen how the lockdown has become an excuse for the government and it’s police to exercise their power in the most undemocratic ways. We have seen how they have destroyed the symbols of our resistance. They have taken this as an opportunity to witch hunt the students of Jamia. We cannot imagine ourselves doing senseless things such as switching off lights and lighting up candles when our friend Meeran Haider is being arrested for false charges.”, Fayiza, a resident of Bi Amma hostel says.
“This is a time to think and realize the traps. We have seen how the government has left the migrant workers in the streets, prone to the virus. We should ask ourselves which ‘collective revolve’ is the government talking about when more than a half of the country’s population is suffering.”, she adds.
The students say it felt more like an imposition than an appeal which is why they chose to protest. The students protested by turning on the lights and holding pluckcards.
“This is the least we can do. It is a shame to an institution like Jamia, which has been in the for front of the struggles against CAA and NRC. We have been fighting for our rights and now we see it being questioned everywhere.”, says Aktarishta Ansari another resident of the Jamia hostel.