JNU, Jamia students need our support: Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi: It is important to understand that students need our support, said Congress MP and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor on Sunday while expressing solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI).

Referring to the violence on the campuses of JNU and JMI, which left several teachers and students injured, Tharoor told ANI: “Jamia and JNU have both been sites of very shameful misbehaviour.”

“In Jamia, by the police themselves, who burst into the hostels and library, and seriously injured and even killed a couple of students, while in JNU, we saw the police standing idle nearby when thugs and goons entered the campus and attacked the students,” he said.

He objected to the manner in which the students had been dealt with, and said that dissent was very precious in the country, especially on university campuses.

“The people who have come into power are claiming that they are big heroes, but they are not showing respect to the students, which they felt they deserve themselves. It is important to understand that the students need our support, and we are here to show our solidarity,” said Tharoor.

Talking about Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that the amended citizenship law does not take away the citizenship of any citizen, Tharoor said: “The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) discriminates by imposing, for the first time, a religious test. The Act says that there would be fast track citizenship for the people of only six religions, which is completely violative of Gandhi and our Constitution, and reflects different thinking than that of our freedom struggle.”

He further said that Shah was linking the CAA explicitly to a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was ‘unacceptable’.

“On one hand, if our Muslim brothers and sisters are left out from the CAA, and then the NRC is implemented, which will empower officials to decide whose citizenship is dubious, then only the Muslim community will have the entire onus of proving that they are Indian citizens. So we are objecting the CAA in principle, and the CAA-NRC combination in practice,” added Tharoor.

On January 5, more than 30 students including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh were taken to the AIIMS Trauma Centre after a masked mob entered the JNU and attacked the students and professors with sticks and rods.

Before that, on December 15, several protesters and policemen sustained injuries during an agitation against the CAA near the JMI. At least, three buses were also set on fire and other public properties were damaged.

Since the enactment of CAA on December 12 last year, protests have erupted in various parts of the country including the national capital after the enactment of CAA last year, which came into effect from January 10.

The CAA grants citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, who came to India on or before December 31, 2014.