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In photos: India refuses to stay quiet in the face of repression

Ananya Bhattacharya
Carter Road protest

There’s no stopping the volcanic eruption of protests across India against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

It started on Dec. 15, when students at New Delhi’s Jamia Millia University gathered to protest the law, which is widely perceived as anti-Muslim. The Delhi Police reportedly broke into the campus, attacked students and vandalised the premises, and allegedly fired bullets and tear gas, injuring several students.

This sparked outrage across the country. In Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), students protesting the violence, ended up facing policy brutality, too.

On Jan. 5, the situation took a turn for the worst with goons going on a rampage at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the nation’s capital—right under the nose of the Delhi police.

The violence has not stopped students across the country from speaking out. From Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and the Film & Television Institute of India in Pune to National Law University in Bengaluru and Jadhavpur University in West Bengal, scores of students are voicing their dissent. Even students from Columbia University in New York and UK’s Oxford University have expressed solidarity.

Outside campuses, professionals are taking time out to attend demonstrations. In Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, a women-led protest has been going on round-the-clock for weeks braving the harsh winter.

In the Bollywood-crazed nation, some of the biggest film stars, who usually maintain a staunch silence on politics, have made their anti-violence stance known.

The spirit isn’t dying. People across the country are handing out free water, tea, biscuits and fruits, and bringing books to read at protest venues. Meanwhile, some establishments are opening their restroom doors for nearby protestors.

Demonstrator display placards and shout slogans during a protest against a new citizenship law, in New Delhi

A demonstrator flashes a placard during a protest against India’s citizenship law in New Delhi on Dec. 19, 2019.

Protest against a new citizenship law outside the Jamia Millia Islamia university in New Delhi

A girl wearing a Santa Claus hat holds a poster at a protest outside the Jamia Millia Islamia University on Dec. 25.

A boy holds up a placard as he attends a protest rally against a new citizenship law, after Friday prayers in Chennai

A boy participates in an anti-CAA protest after Friday prayers in Chennai on Jan. 3, 2020. The poster translates to “The dictator will come and go, we won’t show our papers.”

Demonstrators display placards as they attend a protest rally against a new citizenship law, in Kolkata

A protest rally in Kolkata on Jan. 3, 2020. The “Make tea, not war” placard is a reference to prime minister Narendra Modi, who used to be a tea seller.

Demonstrators holding placards shout slogans as they attend a protest rally against a new citizenship law, in Hyderabad

Demonstrators raise slogans against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Hyderabad on Jan. 4, 2020.

Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the attacks on students of New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University on Sunday, in Chandigarh

Demonstrators protest the attacks on students of New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), in Chandigarh on Jan. 6, 2020. Masked assailants beat students and teachers on the campus of the prestigious university on Jan. 5.

India University Violence

Students and activists in Hyderabad protest the assault at JNU campus.

Mumbai Gateway Protests

Protests at Gateway of India, Mumbai on Jan. 6, 2020, a day after the attack on JNU. The hindi poster reads, “Yeh tanashahi nahi chalegi,” meaning “This dictatorship will not do.”

Mumbai Gateway Protests

Protests at Gateway of India in Mumbai on Jan. 6, 2020, a day after the JNU attack. “Hum Dekhenge” is a popular 20th century poem by Faiz Ahmad Faiz, being widely used to protest by the youth of this country.

Mumbai Gateway Protests

Protests at Gateway of India in Mumbai on Jan. 6, 2020.

Mumbai Gateway Protests

Protests at Gateway of India in Mumbai on Jan. 6, 2020. The Hindi poster is a hat tip to Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, where women have been protesting day and night.

India Citizenship Law Protest

A woman holds a placard as she participates in a protest in Mumbai on Jan. 8, 2020.

Carter Road protest

Protests at Carter Road, Mumbai on Jan. 8, 2020 against attacks on students.

Carter Road protest

Mumbai Police at a protest site at Carter Road, Mumbai on Jan. 8, 2020. Unlike Delhi’s, Mumbai’s police force has been lauded for managing the protests well. When Mumbaikars moved to “Occupy Gateway,” news about the police relocating and detaining protestors in Azad Maidan was doing the rounds. However, the police clarified, “Azad Maidan is the designated place for all agitations in South Mumbai” as per high court instructions, so protestors were being moved peacefully.

Carter Road protest

Protests at Carter Road, Bandra in Mumbai on Jan. 8, 2020, against student violence.

 

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