St Stephen's students boycott classes for first time in 30 years with JNU protesters, anti-CAA and NRC demonstrators, read Preamble to Constitution

  • Wednesday was the first time in 30 years — after agitations against the Mandal Commission — that students of St Stephen's College had boycotted classes

  • Over a over a hundred students boycotted their classes and marched to Arts Faculty building in Delhi University with posters like 'Stephens Against Fascism', 'Kagaz Nahi Dikhayenge', 'Bure Din Wapas De Do' and 'No NRC-CAA'

  • Online, BJP national secretary BL Santosh was slammed for invoking the exodus of Kashmiris in response to a tweet defending the 'Free Kashmir' poster raisd during the St Stephen's protest

On Wednesday, scores of students at Delhi's St Stephen's College, for the first time in 30 years, boycotted classes to express solidarity with students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and demonstrate against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Chants of "azadi" echoed on campus of the college usually considered apolitical, and often aloof from the usually politically-charged atmosphere seen in other Delhi University colleges, slogans like "iss baar nahi hum chodenge, itihas ki dhara modenge (we will not let go this time, we will change the direction of history)" filled the campus as over a hundred students marched around the campus with posters such as "Stephens Against Fascism", "Kagaz Nahi Dikhayenge", "Bure Din Wapas De Do" and "No NRC-CAA".

They later joined other DU colleges and marched towards the Arts Faculty building in Delhi university, the Free Press Journal reported.

Wednesday's boycott was the first time in 30 years — after agitations against the Mandal Commission — that students of St Stephen's College had boycotted classes.

“Protests have been happening across the country and we the students in St Stephen’s didn’t want the momentum of the student protests across the country to die. We wanted to join,” Meghna, one of the organisers told News18. “We were afraid that as soon as college starts, everyone might just go back to usual academic classes and resume a normal schedule. We did not want that to happen. This isn’t over yet. People are in danger and the government is not relenting,” she added.

According to The Times of India, the students braved the rains as they walked around the campus carrying placards with messages like “We are here for rights and not riots”, sang Faiz Ahmed Faiz's song Hum Bhi Dekhenge and read the Preamble to the Constitution.

"Students stuck posters on the doors of students’ common room which read  'hum kaagaz nahin dikhaenge' and 'Chankra Shekhar Azad ko Azad Karo'," the report added. The St Stephens' College joining the protest against the CAA, NRC and NPR was widely covered with one of the English dailies carrying the news on their front page with the headline "Even Stephen's" with the image of an empty classroom.

BJP national secretary slammed for invoking Kashmir

The protest, however, also generated a fresh controversy with BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga tweeting an image of one of the students carrying 'Free Kashmir'.

The poster later on led to a Twitter spat between BJP's national general secretary (Org) BL Santosh and the unofficial St Stephen's alumni news handle @CafeSSC after the former invoked the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

Amid speculation that the Delhi Police might file a case against the student holding the 'Free Kashmir' poster, @CafeSSC had defended the poster saying it simply meant that the Kashmiris don't have the same freedoms that are available to rest of India:

Santosh responded to the tweet asking where the students were was when Kashmiri Pandits were driven out from the Valley.

His comments drew a sharp reaction with users terming Santosh's reaction 'foolish' for accusing the students' of "selective rage" when they were not even born when the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits happened.

Another Twitter user, @vedant123, who claims to be a Kashmiri Pandit said that it was time to stop using the Kashmiri Pandit community as bait to guilt-trip people who are fighting for the rights of people, today,

Some slammed Santosh for pointing out how the Kashmiri exodus had taken place when a BJP-supported government led by VP Singh was in power in the Centre while others asked what the BJP national secretary did when exodus took place. To which, he replied:

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Updated Date: Jan 10, 2020 00:05:07 IST