Reports of demonstrations and incidents of violence continue to pour in from across the country ever since the religion based Citizenship Bill, was passed in the lower house of Parliament (Lok Sabha) at around midnight on Monday.

The CAB along with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise has been viewed to be highly objectionable due to its specific exclusion of a particular community i.e. the Muslims. Some others also seem to have been overlooked like the persecuted Sri Lankan Tamilians and those from Myanmar.

To voice their opposition and to vent out their anger at alleged attempts of the BJP govt led by the Modi-Shah duo to divide the society along religious lines, 25,000 students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have decided to go in for a hunger strike from 11th Dec 2019

“All the dining halls will remain locked and a total of more than 25000 hostel students are going to sit on hunger strike,” per one of the student organizers.

“The specific exclusion of Muslims from the bill, and the government’s plan of simultaneous implementation of the NRC exercise reveals the genocidal intention of the government,” say students.

Calls for complete lock-down of the university have been made to synchronize with the planned debate over the Bill in the Upper House of Parliament. The students even plan boycotting their semester exams that are round the corner.

The students have also given show-cause notice to the Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Mr Tariq Mansoor, along with the Professors, seeking reasons over their silence on the NRC and CAB.

The communique carried “The students of AMU demand that either you join the movement against CAB and stand with us as we protest or we will consider you as silent collaborators with the establishment”.

One Mr Farrukh Ilyas tweeted, “The Inception of the “Idea of India” has begun from the Universities of the Nation itself. AMU students with all their velours and rationality staging protest against the #CitizenshipAmendmentBill 2019.” In between he added “Democracy dies in Darkness”

“There’s no way we accept this bill. This is a moment of do or die for us. Each and every Muslim is together in this. There is no going back now”, Ahmad Mujtaba Faraz, student leader of AMU said.

“This issue affects us all equally and we fight this together. The professors must reveal on whose side they are”, said Wardah Beg, a law student.

Despite vociferous protests from opposition, the Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Bill with a mammoth 311 votes in favour. On the other hand 80 MPs voted against the Bill.

The bill proposes to grant Indian citizenship to all non-Muslims who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before 2015, specifically omitting the ‘Muslim’ community from its mention.

AMU students protest against the CAB Bill and NRC
AMU students protest against the CAB Bill and NRC (Image credits: Tw @maskoorusmani)

The students hunger strike comes at a time when the chorus of opposition to the Citizenship Bill has already spread not only nationally but internationally.

Rana Ayub, Global opinions contributing writer with the Washington Posts, also expressed her fears and concerns in a late night article in The Washington Post “Citizenship bill puts India on a path to become a Hindu nationalist state” on the eve of the CAB being introduced and debated in the Rajya Sabha.

Earlier in the day, eminent and well known journalist Barkha Dutt too wrote a scathing piece in the Washington Post citing that with the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, though half way, India too has just cast itself in Pakistan’s image

With the recent events like the Abrogation of Article 370, the continued lockdown of Kashmir for over 4 months, happening in quick succession, it is only hoped that better sense prevails in the polity of India and the nation once again comes back on its path to progress and development.

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