The ongoing stir over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has intensified across the country. Students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) wore black and red ribbons in protest, while some students of the institute boycotted the class as well. Several students attended the class but remained mum as a mark of protest against the CAA and the NRC.
AIIMS organises candlelight march
Students from the premium institutions are also showing they are disappointed against the Citizenship Bill and NRC. A silent candlelight march was organised by AIIMS students, resident doctors and faculty, at the institute’s premises on Thursday despite the warning by the administration.
Fierce agitation by JMI students
Intense agitation has been going on from the students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and other universities of the country. They are against the passing of the contentious CAA Bill. This Bill has brought students on one platform to show their strength against the passing of the Bill. Jamia has formed a Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) to escalate the protest in the campus against CAA and NRC.
JCC seeks support
JCC issued a statement in which they wanted the involvement and support of all who are linked with Jamia – students, teachers and alumni of Jamia in the wake of recent police brutalities on December 13 and 15. The JCC has also condemned the nationwide atrocities of police against the peaceful protesters, which is against the democracy and Constitution.
Will protest bring change?
The question arises here that will this movement bring any change or force the government to go back foot. Seeing the present numbers of the ruling party in parliament, it looks impossible. The Bill is an attack on the Indian Constitution; despite this, the opposition is not strong enough to force the government to make some changes in it. But it cannot be denied that many student movements in the past had made a sharp effect on the government’s policies and forced the government to make some amendments to pacify the students.
Here is the list of some of the noted student movements in India:
1. Creation of student wings
After Independence, almost all the major political parties created their student wings to spread their popularity in universities and colleges. Many student union leaders later lead their parties from the front. Such leaders always involved themselves in stirring up issues in their student days to remain in active politics.
2. Anti-Hindi movement in Tamil Nadu
The Anti-Hindi movement started in Tamil Nadu in 1965 when a large number of students launched a protest across the state against the Official Languages Act of 1963. Students were agitating against making Hindi an official language. Seeing the potency of movement, the Congress government passed a law that English will continue as the official language along with Hindi. It is estimated that more than 70 people lost their lives. Self-immolations also took place. The Congress had to face the backlash of the people in the state and lost 1965 assembly polls in Tamil Nadu. DMK came to power in the state.
3. JP movement in 1974
Jai Prakash Narayan, a well-known face in Bihar politics, led the Chatra Sangarsh Samiti in 1974 against the Congress government over corruption, nepotism, electoral reforms, subsidised food and education reforms. The students of Patna University led the protest, and it later spread like wildfire in other universities in the country, especially in Hindi-speaking states.
That time, Nitish Kumar the present chief minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh Yadav and many more were the prominent young leaders. They were active participants in the JP movement, which promoted the idea of socialism.
4. Movement during Emergency
Despite the national emergency in 1975, universities and academic institutions across the country did not remain silent. They had organised underground protests, distributed pamphlets and leaflets to intensify the stir against the imposition of emergency. A large number of student leaders including Delhi University Students Union president Arun Jaitley and Jai Prakash Narayan, who were leading the Chatra Sangarsh Samiti, landed in jail.
5. Anti-reservation agitation
Students of upper caste from all over India in 1990 had come on one platform and started a protest against the introduction of 27% reservation in government jobs for students from the Other Backward Classes (OBC). The VP Singh led government implemented the Mandal Commission recommendations. This protest failed to get further strength because students of OBC category remained aloof in this protest.
Students always come forward whenever they think some unusual happening is going on in the country or state or tampering is being done in the Constitution. But Student movements usually take a very effective form, and they spread like wildfire across the country. JP movement was the reason behind the downfall of Indira Gandhi’s government in 1977. Student protest against CAA and NRC may bring something positive in the coming days.