A ‘Save Constitution’ rally called by the University of Hyderabad (UoH) Students’ Union led 22 people to be booked by the Cyberabad police on Sunday. The students were booked under charges of unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint, public nuisance, and intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace.
Registering their protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the imminent National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), around 200 students were marching towards Masjid Bonda, near university, to garland the statue of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on the occasion of Republic Day.
Escalating tensions, the students’ march was stopped at the university gate by the Cyberabad police and the students were not allowed to go out of the campus space.
“About 200 members formed in to unlawful assembly and were moving in rally out of the HCU (sic),” reads the FIR lodged against the protesting students. Among those who were booked was also the students’ union president Abhishek Nandan.
“Students, carrying tricolour flags, joined the march to save the constitution. The march is carried out every year on days of national importance. However, this time, we were stopped by the police who were in hundreds with water cannon and riot control vans,” Nandan told NewsClick.
RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) was allowed to carry out a march hours before us inside the campus, Nandan further added. Communal slurs were passed in the ABVP’s march, he alleged.
In a statement, Students Federation of India (SFI) condemned the police for charging “false” FIR. “The students were well within their constitutional rights to march peacefully and garland the statue of the architect of Indian Constitution,” the statement said.
This is not the first time that the administration of UoH has stopped the students from protesting against the CAA-NRC-NPR. On earlier occasions, the students including the students’ union office bearers were warned by the administration regarding the same.
The action by the police against the students in Hyderabad comes at a time when protests are erupting across the country in various universities demanding revocation of the act.
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