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Harvard students slam Delhi police action in Jamia Millia Islamia, AMU

Religion cannot be the determinant of nationhood and citizenship cannot be a tool of ethnic violence, the letter by Harvard University students said

Tuesday December 17, 2019 5:36 PM, ummid.com News Network

Harvard University Students Open Letter

[Harvard University (File photo: Twitter/@Harvard)]

Washington: Over 100 students of Harvard University have written an open letter to the government of India terming the police action on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University a "violent suppression of protestors" and voicing concerns on the new Citizenship law.

"We stand in solidairty with the students patriotic citizens of India who have met this act with strong dissent and opposition", the Harvard University students wrote in the letter.

"We emphasise that protest and dissent are inherent to democracy. Protests are inconvenient and disruptive, but they sustain the secualr and democratic fabric of our nation", they wrote.

"The violent suppression of protesters by the police, the use of teargas, lathi charges, and physical assault in response to peaceful dissent, and the police forces' forceful entry into university campuses and consequent Internet blockades there are all deeply reprehensible", they wrote.

"It is important to note that these events are in violation of rights to due process, public association, and dissent", they added.

"Further, we stress that the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, itself is a deeply regrettable act of legislation. It is also a violation of India as imagined by leaders like Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, Dr B.R. Amebedkar and Moulana Azad", the students of one of the leading universities in the world wrote.

"Religion cannot be the determinant of nationhood and citizenship cannot be a tool of ethnic violence", they wrote.

"By pushing a religiously backed narrative on immigrants and refugees, the act protects non-Muslim minorities of neighboring states at the cost of Muslim immigrants and refugees", they wrote.

"The consequences of this range from an attempt to redifine what it means to be Indian and who counts as Indian to questions on what will happen to future climate refugees, such as, for instance, those living low altitude areas of Bangaldesh who might be in need of refuge", they warned.

The Harvard University students' letter came at the time when Jamia Millia Islamia and AMU students are getting support from all across India. Solidarity marches in their support were held on Sunday and all through Monday by the students of JNU, DU, TISS Mumbai, MANUU Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, Jadavpur University Kolkata, Patna University, Banaras Hindu University, Allahabad University, Pune University and also by students in Bhopal, Bengaluru, Kannur Kerala, Surat and Ahemdabad in Gujarat, Chennai, Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and other parts of the country.

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