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Karachi students come out in support of JNU fellows, teachers

Karachi students come out in support of JNU fellows, teachers

KARACHI: Scores of students belonging to the Inter University Feminist Union (IUFU) held a protest demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday to express solidarity with the students, professors and other citizens against India’s discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The protesting students spoke about the incident of Jan 5 when a right-wing student organisation, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, brutally attacked students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi with the support of the Indian government. Armed with rods, hammers, bricks and sticks and with their faces covered, members of the organisation had charged into the university campus and assaulted students in the presence of police.

“The reign of terror is part of the ongoing resistance to the CAA and the changes being brought to India’s National Registry of Citizens will be used by the Indian government to target marginalised groups including the Muslim populace. Students across India are protesting against this bill and they are being attacked by the state in the process,” said a student at the protest, who refused to share his own name or the name of his university.

But he reminded how also in December last year, students of Jamia Millia Islamia were openly fired upon by the police, injuring many. He also gave the example of Aligarh Muslim University where many students were also subjected to police brutality.

The students urge Pakistan and India to improve bilateral ties

“We, at IUFU, strictly condemn this kind of violence against students by India. We feel the pain of these students and can identify with them as such kind of violence is also used against students here. Our friends are abducted and detained often,” said another student, who also refused to share her name or the name of her university.

“We cannot give you our names because we are afraid. And yes, we stand in solidarity with our fellow students from across the border because we know what they are going through only too well,” she said. “Female students have to go through more than male students here. We are harassed in our own universities and then if we complain, we are also harassed by the people in admin while we are put on surveillance,” she pointed out.

“Today this protest is taking place simultaneously outside the press clubs of many big cities of Pakistan. It is a message of solidarity from all across Pakistan [...] solidarity with our fellow students from across the border. We demand that the United Nations urge the Indian government to end this reign of terror against students. We also urge the governments of both Pakistan and India to improve bilateral ties and allow for their populations to coexist the way people from other neighbouring countries do all over the world,” said another student, who had flown in from Lahore to join the protest.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2020

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