• Ayesha Dhall

Citizenship Bill and Student Protest

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

In the past week there have been demonstrations, protests and even violence across a number of cities in the country after the Citizenship Bill was passed in both houses of Parliament. I was especially very disturbed by the turn of events on 15th December when a student protest at an Institute in New Delhi went violent leading to police using teargas to control the crowds. Tensions are rising everywhere in the country and I can see heated debates and discussions everywhere on our news channels, newspaper editorials, whatsapp groups, facebook, as well as my own dinner table.

I had posted my views on this legislation a few days ago. I find one aspect very heartening which is that, like in any good democracy, people who disagree are coming out and voicing their opinion and opposition to certain aspects of the Act. There have been protests all over the country on the streets and campuses, in fact yesterday, reportedly 36 educational institutions held demonstrations and protests. I do not see any religious overtones in any of the protests rather it is students and regular citizens who are protesting against certain aspects of this legislation they want changed. In a vibrant democracy peaceful protests are a means of freedom of expression. I wholeheartedly condemn the violence, but peaceful protest must be encouraged and their voices heard. If there are aspects that citizen feel need to be re-looked at, the Government must hear their voices and contemplate on whether changes are required in order to achieve their objectives while maintaining the secular and social fabric of the country.

The bill will be reviewed by the supreme court soon, I do hope some of the issues will be addressed there.

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