In an Open Letter, IIM-A Students Condemn the Citizenship (Amendment) Act

The students of Indian Institute of Ahmedabad (IIM-A) have released an open letter condemning the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. The Act, they say, is “discriminatory” and goes against the basic ethos of the Indian Constitution.

A week ago, the President cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill after it was passed in both the houses of the Parliament amidst strong criticism from the opposition. This Act will give citizenship to religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan [– namely Hindus, Sikh, Jain, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians –] provided they have lived in India for six years.

Some politicians, students and activists have been protesting the Act ever since it was tabled in the Lok Sabha.

In the same vein, the students at IIM-A, a week ago, started an open letter opposing the Bill, now an a law, with a few signatories from within the campus. Soon after, the letter went viral in campuses across India, racking up over 1,955 signatures as of today.

Students from others IIMs, IITs, Delhi University, Jadavpur University, state central universities and other colleges have also signed the letter.

“..the Act is inconsistent with India’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the international law principle of non-refoulement of refugees, irrespective of caste, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or political ideology.

The Act, in its current form, is also likely to harm the interests of the indigenous people of India’s Northeast. India, as a signatory to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has a responsibility to protect the land, cultural and linguistic rights of the indigenous people,” says the letter.

50 IIM-A students detained

Meanwhile, over 50 persons, who gathered outside IIM- Ahmedabad to protest police action on Jamia students, were detained on Saturday, December 16.

Along with activists, including Shamshad Pathan of Alp-Sankhyak Adhikar Manch, several faculty members, students of IIMA, CEPT University and other prominent institutions were also taken into custody for agitating on the footpath outside IIMA.

Noted activist and classical dancer Mallika Sarabhai also took part in the demonstration, but she was not among those who were detained. The official said the protesters, mainly from outfits like Alpsankhyak Adhikar Manch and ANHAD, besides other NGOs and civic rights groups, did not have permission to assemble at the place, adding that they would be released soon.

“We have detained 50 protesters for not taking permission to assemble at the place, which is near a road. They were causing a traffic jam. They will be released soon,” Inspector H M Vyas of Gujarat University police station said.

Activist Dev Desai said that besides activists, several faculty members, students of IIMA, CEPT University and other prominent institutions were detained for holding protests on the footpath outside IIMA.

The updated letter with the names of all the signatories can be read here:-

Open Letter Against Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 by The Wire on Scribd

With PTI inputs

Featured image credit: IIM Ahmedabad official site