24-Hour Protest At Bengaluru’s Maurya Circle Against JNU Violence

The protest organised in Bengaluru was along the lines of those held at Shaheen Bagh and Gateway of India.

Published08 Jan 2020, 11:26 AM IST
India
4 min read

At around midnight on Wednesday, Bengaluru's Maurya Circle came alive. It was witness to a steadily swelling crowd that showed no signs of abating. For those in the crowd, rest had taken a back seat and the violence and injustice meted out to students and teachers at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) this past weekend was not something they could sleep on.

Hundreds of protesters turned up and occupied Maurya Circle in Bengaluru in a 24-hour-long protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the violence that broke out at JNU on Sunday, which left students and faculty members injured.

The protesters gathered at 6 pm on Tuesday and 30-year-old Sneha was among the first few who turned up at the Maurya Circle at the start of the protest. She is an IT professional working in the city and she was attending her first protest. "I decided to come here to protest after what happened at JNU on Sunday, which was a tipping point for me. The police are expected to protect citizens and students," Sneha told TNM.

Bengaluru’s first overnight protests  against CAA-NRC and the JNU violence.
Bengaluru’s first overnight protests against CAA-NRC and the JNU violence.
(Photo: TNM)
Protesters holding placards condemning  the attack on JNU students.
Protesters holding placards condemning the attack on JNU students.
(Photo: TNM)

This is the first overnight protest which was organised in Bengaluru along the lines of protests held at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi and Gateway of India in Mumbai. This comes more than three weeks after the first protest was held in the city in the aftermath of police action in Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University on December 14.

Bengaluru’s first overnight protest against the CAA-NRC and the violence at JNU.
Bengaluru’s first overnight protest against the CAA-NRC and the violence at JNU.
(Photo: TNM)
A protester waves the Indian flag during the demonstration at Bengaluru’s Maurya Circle.
A protester waves the Indian flag during the demonstration at Bengaluru’s Maurya Circle.
(Photo: TNM)

On Sunday night, around 30-50 masked people wielding rods and sticks, entered hostels inside the JNU campus in Delhi and brutally assaulted students and faculty members who had opposed a sharp fee hike at the institution. At least 24 people were injured and were hospitalised. This included faculty member Suchitra Sen and Jawaharlal Nehru Students Association President Aishe Ghosh.

According to the organisers of the protest, Sunday's violent incidents prompted many fence-sitters to also turn up at Maurya Circle. "This is a turning point because people are giving up comfort to turn up at protests. The fact that we want to spend a night out to protest is a powerful statement and an expression of the will we have to carry this on and continue the fight," Satyavrat, one of the protesters told TNM.

Protesters holding placards condemning  the attack on JNU students.
Protesters holding placards condemning the attack on JNU students.
(Photo: TNM)
A protester holding placard against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
A protester holding placard against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
(Photo: TNM)
Protesters holding posters condemning the violence at JNU.
Protesters holding posters condemning the violence at JNU.
(Photo: TNM)

As the hours went by, more protesters trickled in carrying food, water and other supplies for protesters who were on the streets through the night. The slogans, speeches, and singing also continued to reverberate all night. Most slogans were critical of the ruling BJP government, police officials and the lack of safety in universities in the country.

The protest was organised by a collective of students which had earlier organised protests in the city against the CAA and NRC. "Students have turned up here to ask for the mic to be passed to them. The people in power had their say and now students are turning up to say that they want a change. Instead of hijacking their movement, they should listen and respect the voices of students coming through here," Rohan Susan Mathew, a protester said.

Bengaluru’s first overnight protests against CAA-NRC and the attack on JNU students.
Bengaluru’s first overnight protests against CAA-NRC and the attack on JNU students.
(Photo: TNM)
Protesters holding placards criticising  the Uttar Pradesh government over the death of protestors.
Protesters holding placards criticising the Uttar Pradesh government over the death of protestors.
(Photo: TNM)

Protesters have repeatedly stated that the CAA is unconstitutional and have been steadfast in their opposition against the Act, particularly in connection with NRC. Even though the number of protesters at the venue reduced around 3 am, the protest continued all night until the morning when another wave of protesters reached the venue to take over from those who had stayed all night.

Bengaluru’s first overnight protests against CAA-NRC and the violence towards students in JNU.
Bengaluru’s first overnight protests against CAA-NRC and the violence towards students in JNU.
Protesters holding placards with slogans expressing solidarity with JNU students.
Protesters holding placards with slogans expressing solidarity with JNU students.
Protester holding signs against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
Protester holding signs against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
(Photo: TNM)

Shivajinagar's Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad also took part in the protest but did not address the crowd of protesters. The protest continued into Wednesday morning, and around 7 am, the Preamble of the Constitution was read out.

The 24-hour protest was also preceded by a candlelight vigil that was held at the St Joseph College of Commerce earlier on Tuesday.

(This story was published in an arrangement with TheNewsMinute)

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