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Four Years Later, Jamia Students Remember Dec 15 Incident; Observe ‘Resistance Day’

Sahil Budhwar |
The gathering was joined by over 500 students and was led by multiple student organisations.
The gathering was joined by over 500 students and was led by multiple student organisations.

New Delhi: Students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) called for a gathering on December 15 to commemorate the four years since the incident of police brutality against the university's students in 2019.

On December 15, 2019, Delhi Police, along with paramilitary forces, had forcibly entered the Jamia campus and the Zakir Hussain library, reportedly beating up students to the point of severe, life-threatening injuries.

The gathering was joined by over 500 students and was led by multiple student organisations of JMI. There was strict checking of identity cards at the university gates, and right outside, there was a heavy deployment of police.

The programme started at the Central Canteen in the evening with loud sloganeering. Later, the crowd settled down, and leaders of student organisations delivered their speeches. They demanded that the government release the student activists who are still imprisoned and asked for compensation for those whose careers and lives were affected because of the December 15 incident.


Talking to NewsClick, Sanam Hussain, president of the Students Federation of India (SFI) unit of JMI, said that the day has been remembered as a “black day” in the history of student struggle.

“An attack like that was never seen in the history of student struggles. Students were treated as if they were terrorists. The police forced their way into the university library and beat up unarmed students simply studying in the library; not a single person was spared,” she said.

As she went on to talk about the remembrance gathering, she said that we are marking this particular day as the ‘Day of Resistance’ in Jamia.

“Even though it was a black day, it should be remembered as a day of resistance because it was from this onwards that stirred so much anger in the students that the fight against CAA-NRC-NPR became a fight of all students across India. It was the students all over Delhi that took the lead in organising and leading the anti-CAA sit-ins, and this started after this particular day,” she said.

Many leaders of students’ organisations talked about how the nature of student politics has changed in Jamia after the 2019 attack. They said that the democratic space that used to exist earlier on the campus is “completely gone”.


Waquar, an All India Students Association (AISA) activist and a student of Jamia, on the question of how student politics has changed on campus since the 2019 attack, said that the administration's crackdown on students had increased tremendously.

“The number of show cause notices that the admin has begun to give out is directly in proportion to this intensification. The number of disciplinary committees being constituted and short and long-term suspensions are also a sign to understand this,” he said.

NS Abdul Hameed, president of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) JMI, said, “After CAA, everything changed. We are not even allowed to hold a study talk sometimes. We often feel that our voices are being suppressed.”

Talking about the gathering, he said, “The fight against CAA is a fight to protect the constitution. The police attack on Jamia four years ago was an attack on the democratic and secular system of the country. Jamia is our home away from home. They made us feel unsafe in our homes. But still, we rise and resist. The legacy of Jamia is invincible, and it will never surrender to any dictatorship.”


Adham Rafeek, a sociology student of Jamia, who was part of the gathering, said, “The people here today are very emotional while remembering the December 15 attack. Students of Jamia are very emotionally connected to their university as any student should be. The fact that such a terrifying incident took place inside the campus shakes everybody to their core, and so many people are here today because of that anger. The administration is constantly trying to shut down student politics in Jamia completely through the use of show cause notices and suspensions, but this crowd is enough to show that no one can silence the students in Jamia.”

From the central canteen, the crowd moved to lead a rally around the Jamia campus. The rally stopped in front of the Zakir Hussain library for a few minutes to remember the place where the attack occurred and then moved on to the front gate of the university where it eventually concluded.

The writer is an MA student at Ambedkar University.

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