Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday likened police action on Jamia Millia Islamia University students to that of Jallianwala Bagh massacre, as he appealed to the Centre to not deal with the youth in such a manner.
Speaking on police crackdown on students protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Shiv Sena chief said he was reminded of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which marked its 100th year this April.
At least 400 people were killed after some 50 British soldiers opened fire within the walled enclosure in Jallianwala Bagh. However, Indian figures put the toll at closer to 1,000.
“Students are like a ‘Yuva bomb’. So we request the Central Government to not do, what they are doing, with students,” he said while addressing the media.
This is the first such reaction on the Jamia violence by Sena, which heads the alliance government in Maharashtra. It allies, Congress and NCP, have openly criticised the BJP government over the alleged police atrocities on the students.
Meanwhile, students of the University of Mumbai, the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), and political parties and social organisations staged protests on Monday to express solidarity with students of the Jamia Millia Islamia whose campus witnessed violence on Sunday.
The IIT-B students, including many girls, carried torches, banners and posters saying “In Solidarity With Jamia” and silently marched around their campuses peacefully, late on Sunday.
TISS students, including many women, also took out a procession on Monday and boycotted their lectures to condemn the “brutal violence” against the students in JMI, AMU and the people of the northeastern states.
At the Mumbai University’s Kalina campus, hundreds of students, led by the Chhatra Bharati, also supported the JMI and AMU students and vehemently opposed the CAA/NRC laws.
Sunday night’s incidents in JMI and AMU have triggered hot debates among the students in different Central and state universities across the country, besides triggering various forms of protests.
Violence erupted following a clash between police and Jamia Millia Islamia students who were protesting against the amended Citizenship Bill on Sunday evening. At least five buses were set ablaze. Police used batons and teargas and were seen chasing protesters through the streets in southeast Delhi’s Mathura Road.
Petrol bombs targeted police personnel, ordinary citizens and the media as a raging mob that seized parts of south Delhi refused to let go.
However, the students have claimed that they had distanced themselves from resorting to violence.
Shiv Sena had abstained from voting on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha on December 9 as the Government, it claimed, “did not give satisfactory answers to queries raised by the party”.
The Shiv Sena, which voted in favour of the controversial Bill in Lok Sabha, opposed it in Rajya Sabha, saying the draft law should have been debated on the basis of “humanity, not religion”.
Uddhav Thackeray had on Monday said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 has “no clarity” in it.
“The questions we asked in Lok Sabha on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 were not answered. There is no clarity on the Citizenship Act,” Shiv Sena chief Thackeray said at an event in Nagpur.
The amended law seeks to provide citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and have arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.