New Delhi: SIO of India stands by and extends every support to protesters raising their voice against the unconstitutional CAA and NPR-NRC process. We have stood against the brutal police violence on campuses of Jamia and AMU. We equally stand against the individual targeting and witch-hunting of individual student activists from different universities. It is no surprise that the chief target of the state, as well as sangh parivar’s propaganda machinery, are individual Muslim students who are raising their voices in premier institutions like JNU and AMU. While we may not agree with or endorse every statement made by these individual students, we must recognize them as legitimate voices coming from within the society. Instead of engaging with the questions being raised by them, the state and sangh machinery finds it much more convenient to stereotype them as ‘dangerous’, ‘suspicious’ and ‘threatening’ Muslims. We categorically reject this witch-hunt and media trial of student activists, and above all we hold our collective freedom of conscience, and the right to dissent, to be sacrosanct and unimpeachable. We demand the revocation of false cases against all students, social activists and protesters.

Along with this witch-hunt of individual activists, an attempt is also being made to vilify and delegitimise the entire movement by alleging that it is somehow being ‘staged’ or ‘orchestrated’. However, the truth of this movement will be apparent to anyone who has been a part of any of the protest gatherings. This is a genuinely organic people’s movement that is not being centrally led or managed by anyone. Common people have clearly perceived that the BJP and sangh parivaar have launched an attack on the very basis of equal citizenship, and they have responded with a spontaneous force. The lack of any central control is evident in the myriad of different voices that have emerged from these protests. People have responded to the attack on equal citizenship by an assertion of their claim to equal citizenship. The resounding echo of these voices has been this assertion of citizenship, and a demand to hold the state accountable to the basic promise of the constitution.

And while we extend our support and solidarity to the student activists on different campuses, we must also remember the may who have laid down their lives in this movement, especially in UP but also elsewhere. We must also remember the thousands who are named in various FIRs, the hundreds who were detained and tortured, and the dozens who are still in jail for the simple act of following their conscience. BJP led governments in dofferent states, and especially in UP, have made dissent a crime. They have tried to subjugate these protests through fear and intimidation, and the people have responded with resolve and determination. We must stand by all of them, and along with the movement for equal citizenship, we must continue the fight against illegal detentions, criminalisation of dissent and police brutality.