CAA Row: How Jamia Students Joined Hands to Keep Protests Peaceful

Here’s how layers of human chains helped Jamia protests remain peaceful of Monday.

Published
India
3 min read
How human chains helped keep protests at Jamia peaceful on Monday, 16 December.
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Battling allegations that put them at the heart of violent mobs, that torched buses across the city, students at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University on Monday, 16 December, were determined not to let their protest turn violent.

And they managed to do so by employing a unique but often underestimated method – by forming multiple human chains.

The chains, however, varied in form and composition, depending on which time one visited the protest venue which, on Monday, was limited to the road next to gate number seven of the varsity.

Protesters form a human chain to keep the road open outside Jamia.
Protesters form a human chain to keep the road open outside Jamia.
(Photo: The Quint)

On Monday morning, students formed human chains on both sides of the protest venue to ensure that protesters and onlookers do not block the way, allowing traffic to pass through.

Vasundhara, a Jamia student, said that they wanted to protest peacefully, which is why they wanted the road to remain open. Recounting the events of Sunday night, she said, “We are protesting the manner in which tear gas shells were fired inside the library... We didn’t torch the bus,” she said.

Chains That Kept Trouble at Bay

By evening, protesters were requested to go near Holy Family Hospital.
By evening, protesters were requested to go near Holy Family Hospital.
(Photo: The Quint)

Even later in the day, when the road was eventually overtaken by protesters, the human chains stayed in place.

Throughout the afternoon, multiple human chains were formed on the road leading to the Holy Family Hospital, where police forces were stationed. Those in the chains wouldn’t let anyone pass through, and would warn, “Bhai, wahan police hai. Mat jao (Brother, don’t go that side. The police is there.)“

Having faced what they said was ‘police brutality’ the night before, students said they didn’t trust law enforcers anymore.

Among those in the first layer of the chain was 20-year-old Zuheb, who studies BA at Jamia. He too was in the library on Sunday night, when police personnel entered the campus and picked up students, allegedly injuring some by throwing tear gas shells.

Zubair feels the police had trapped and not rescued the students.
Zubair feels the police had trapped and not rescued the students.
(Photo: The Quint)

“The police didn’t rescue us, in fact, they were the ones who trapped us and then asked us to come out of the campus with our hands up... like we were terrorists,” he said. Wary that protesters or miscreants might clash with police and put the blame on Jamia students, Zuheb, along with others, didn’t allow anyone to pass through the human chains.

With him was 9th grader Affan, who didn’t know much about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, but said it was not in the interest of the nation. He hadn’t told his family that he was at the protest.

In total, there were four layers of the human chain and, by 6:30 pm, all four had started moving towards Jamia Nagar, taking all the protesters with them. Their only aim was to humbly ask protesters to disperse and avoid any untoward incident.

Aslam was a part of the last human chain.
Aslam was a part of the last human chain.
(Photo: The Quint)

Among those gently asking protesters to return home was 28-year-old dentist Aslam. Since his was the last chain, he would face protesters who had managed to stay on, despite being combed by three preceding chains. “We don’t want any violence. We want them to go home,” he said.

Human chains push protesters towards Jamia Nagar.
Human chains push protesters towards Jamia Nagar.
(Photo: The Quint)

By the end, the crowds had dispersed and the protest came to an end for the day, achieving what it had intended – keeping the protest non-violent and peaceful.

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