Hyderabad: The hotbed of Telangana agitations — Osmania University — saw massive crowds on December 17, as people from all walks of life joined to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Emotions were running high as “azaadi” slogans resounded across the campus, calling for freedom from the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and CAB.
Amidst slogans of “We want Justice”, “Ambedkar Zinda, Zinda Hai” and “Go Back NRC”, numerous students from the city’s educational institutions — TISS, Osmania, and EFLU — joined in expressing their dissent against the Act. The protest began at around 5 pm and intensified, as protestors with torches and candles tried to take out a march from in front of Arts College onto the roads. However, the police didn’t grant them permission to take the procession outside, following which it remained confined in front of the Arts College, Osmania University. Moreover, protestors were also not allowed to use a mike to address the gathering.
Condemning the police crackdown on Jamia students, Naresh from Dalit Minority Students’ Association said, “Osmania University is known for its prompt reaction towards all injustices happening in society. The crowd that showed up today to protest is the answer to the Citizenship Amendment Act. We condemn the violence on students, and this protest will go on until the government relents.”
Concerned citizens from supporting organisations turned out in large numbers in solidarity. Meera Sangamitra, associated with National Allied People’s Movement, said, “Never before has a government so blatantly excluded a section of people based on religion. The effort they have gone through to make it legal shows this. I think it is not just the burden of Muslims to protest and condemn this act of exclusion. It is the duty of all law-abiding citizens in the country to come forth in large numbers and express their dissent. We cannot afford to lose our secularism in this nation.”
Students from universities stayed on until night to continue their protests. Sara Siddique, a student from Osmania University, said, “The Citizenship Act is unconstitutional, there is no doubt about it. We have gathered here as students and nothing more. The violence meted out against Jamia Millia Islamia students cannot be justified. It has happened to them, and it can happen to us as well. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to stand up and fight.”
Meanwhile, Hyderabad Central University students organised a mashaal juloos on December 17, protesting CAB and pledging solidarity with Jamia students.