Social Protest and Police Brutality: Aligarh Muslim Univeristy

The Government of India passed a controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (hereinafter referred to as “CAA”) on 12.12.2019 which led to massive unrest in the entire country, particularly among the religious minority groups. In order to consolidate majority votes, the CAA envisaged granting of citizenship on basis of religion, giving birth to unprecedented and highly discriminatory practice in the largest democracy in the world. It not only violates the spirit of the Constitution of India but also several international human rights instruments. The fear of losing citizenship merely on the basis of religion and anger on the curtailment of civil rights led to a number of social protests across the country. The key centres of these protests turned out to be students from two prominent central universities namely Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh and Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. Entire nation garnered support for the protests in these universities, which were focal points and a source of inspiration for everyone in
the country.

In these protests the students exercised their democratic right to raise their dissenting voice against CAA and NRC. On 15th December, 2019 the state unleashed their forces to curb their voice which was resonating throughout India. At the first instance, it seems clear that the large scale violence carried out by the police and RAF forces was excessive, brutal and completely disproportionate to the stated objective of breaking up a protest. The culpability for this large scale violence against peaceful students lies with the police and RAF as well as the university administration which allowed them in. The actions of the police in particular violate all norms and standards of conduct in dealing with student’s right to freedom of expression and association, and with the basic right to demand for rights

The horrifying incident of the fateful night not only terrified the students but also shook the pillars of the democracy in India. The report covers the democratic demonstration of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. It reflects the details of the peaceful protest which was conducted by the students of Aligarh Muslim University against the discriminatory CAA. The report has also reproduced testimonies of the students who were victim to the brutality of the state on the horrific night.

The testimonies reflect the injuries sustained by the students by use of excessive force by the police and RAF. It also reflects the detention of the students who were trying to save their lives from the wrath of the police and RAF. The report also covers the legal struggle of the students and the continuous support provided by HRLN. HRLN lawyers conducted the preliminary fact finding, represented the students before the Supreme Court of India, High Court of Allahabad and also before the National Human Rights Commission