By Ubair Ul Hameed
The scars inflicted on us by the police have healed but the psychological trauma we have been going through is hard to realize by those who see us from the frame of ‘others’ in the communally-charged atmosphere in the new India, observed students and activists on Monday in Delhi on the third anniversary of police violence in of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia to silence the protest against citizenship regime.
Members of civil society gathered at Press Club of India under the aegis of Concerned Citizens and Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) to recount the horrors which are told repeatedly through various platforms but are rarely heard in the corridors of power as scores of students are still facing serious charges, including UAPA.
“The memories of the police brutality and violence are still fresh. The police used anti-Muslim slurs while beating the students on the campuses,” said AMU’s student Wardah Beg, underscoring that the “female students became the first line of defence.” She added many of her friends were arrested after the protest against the citizenship regime – Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR). “The jails in the country have failed to break the will of the Muslims of India,” she said firmly even as she underlined that the Muslims in the country are living the “constant state of compromise”. Wardha pointed out the fundamental rights of Muslims are being “recklessly” encroached upon.
Haris, a student of the Jamia Millia Islamia, echoed the same sentiment and said, “the police used power against us just because we were Muslims.”
Nadeem Khan of the APCR said: “India has been turned into a police state and the rule of law largely doesn’t exist when it comes to Muslims of the Country.” He added the constitutional values are being destroyed by those who are supposed to protect the same.
He said: “All of the people killed in the anti-CAA protests and the violence that followed were Muslims. The police opened fire at them directly but made an untrue statement in the public saying they (Muslims) were killed during infighting between two groups of protesters,” he said adding “How’s it possible that all of them were Muslims?”
Khan said that 24 people were killed in the police firing during the violence. 21 of them were killed in Uttar Pradesh only. He also said that the “deep-state” has always been anti-Muslim and they’re driven by hate against Muslims and Islam.
During the event, editor of the Caravan, Hartosh Singh Bal, said that the RSS and BJP’s “idea of India treats Muslims as second class citizens. Bal claimed, “We’ve seen what happens in the police state. Kashmir is an example.”
“It’s nothing new that the police have aided the rioters. It happened in 1984 and 2002 as well… The police is only working on the superstructure laid down by the RSS and the BJP,” he alleged.
Apoorvanand, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event said that Muslims are being targeted deliberately by the government. “Being a Muslim has been criminalised in India,” he said.