Sub: Letter of solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and all other student bodies and organizations protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in India.
The York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA) stands in support with the students across university campuses in India, who have raised their voices against the fundamentally discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). These legislative tools use religious grounds to define Indian citizenship and undermine the Indian Constitution. They are also blatant violations of India’s commitment to the United Nations International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The students protesting against the CAA and NRC are defending the core values of India as a sovereign, socialist, and secular democracy. We, as a student body, severely condemn all acts of state-sanctioned violence that have been deployed against the protesters. It is well known that university campuses have historically been sites of democratic resistance and social movements in India. As such, police officers and paramilitary forces defending fundamentalist and discriminatory legislation do not belong on university campuses.
Under the government’s directives, students, reporters, and the general public have been subjected to police brutality. Not to mention that public transit has been halted, gatherings of people have been banned, and internet access and phone services have been shut down across the entire states of Kashmir and Assam, and other major cities. Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah’s declaration in a public forum challenging internationally mandated standards of human rights is part of the larger structures of unfettered fascism that are clear and present throughout the country.
We believe that the Indian government is failing to be accountable to its citizens and has exhibited a blatant disregard for fundamental human rights. We are in awe of students and protesters who are still turning up in large numbers and despite the imminent threat of being detained for exercising their right to dissent. The Narendra Modi-led BJP government should know that these protests are signs of the changes about to come and that the world is closely watching these events unfold.
The YUGSA Executive Committee
Media coverage on this issue can be found here.