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Nizamia Tibbi College stays strong even after completing 60 days of student protest 

students at protest

 Nikhat Fatima, TwoCircles.net

Braving all odds, the students of Nizamia Tibbi College complete 60 days of their protests against CAA-NRC-NPR in the college campus, and continue to stay strong in voicing their dissent against the citizenship laws.

When the CAA was first passed in December 2019, there were voices of protest from people all over India and soon the women of Delhi began their sit-in protest from December 15th 2019, at Shaheen Bagh despite the chilly winters of Delhi. The women of Shaheen Bagh sent across a wave of inspiration for protests in the country with more Shaheen Baghs emerging from every part of the country. Joining in were students, activists and professionals at the famous Tibbi College in the old city of Hyderabad, just a stone’s throw from the Charminar. These students, about a 100 of them studying medical, have registered an ongoing protest for over two months now. After their classes instead of heading home, they sit down under a tree in their college campus and continue to speak for saving their democracy.

“There is no leader for our protest, some senior students gave a call after the students in JNU and AMU were attacked by police and Hindutva groups and we all joined in the protest” said a student protester from 1st year.

Another student explained that they felt the need to not just express solidarity with the students from AMU and JNU but also protest against the Act that is unconstitutional. Their timings were initially from 3.30 to 8.00 pm in the night but some girl students who lived in the college hostel were facing problems due to hostel timing rules. In order to accommodate them, the protest timings were changed from 3:00 PM to 7 PM.

“But it was not that easy,” shared Husna, a final year student, “After a few days of protest, our Principal asked us to stop.” Husna explained that there was pressure from some political parties and although the principal did not have objections in the beginning, he had to ultimately ask the students to stop. Husna said the pressure from authorities didn’t damp their spirits as they were adamant to hold peaceful protests in the college campus. Talking about hostel rules, Asra, another student protester said, “15 girls from the hostel are not coming for the protest because their warden is not allowing them to participate.”

painting on the wall

These are just a few examples of how attempts have been made to stall the protests, but these have not been strong enough to deter the students from their motive. The group of protestors at Tibbi College continues to gather after classes organizing discussions, news updates, sloganeering and skits on CAA. Many of them study together in the campus while others recite revolutionary poetry chanting slogans of ‘Azadi’.

The students have maintained a planned schedule of these protests with specific timings for every activity. ‘The chronology’, one of the female protesters, explained is ‘Pehle classes honge phir protest hoga, phir namaz padhi jayegi, open library hogi, aur raat mein candle march hoga’ (The chronology is that first we will have classes, then protests, then namaz, then open library and then at night we will have candle marches).

with tourists from Turkey

When news of Tibbi College student protest spread, leaders from other student bodies of different universities visited their protest site and expressed solidarity shouting the ‘Azadi’ slogans along with them. Other activists protesting against the CAA keep visiting them giving motivational talks and encouraging the students to keep protesting and stay strong.

Mushtaq Mallik, Convenor of the Joint Action Committee of Hyderabad for the Anti CAA Protest visited the students but was ushered out after just 2 minutes. Prakash Raj, the renowned actor visited Hyderabad for a public meeting on January 20 and was eager to meet the students but was stopped by the police halfway to the site. Following the visit of many like him, the police barged into the Nizamia college campus, threatening to book cases against the Principal and protestors.

But the spirit of students remained undeterred.

drawing a Rangoli

The students have been registering their protests in innovative ways. They have adorned the campus with posters. They have painted the walls and floors with slogans and pictures depicting justice, freedom and peace and on day 55 of the protest, they held a signature campaign to register voices in support of condemning the CAA. Another day, the students tore copies of the Citizenship Amendment Act, and formed a human chain near the Charminar. They then took out a Tiranga rally and drew rangoli with patriotic and revolutionary designs and slogans. Students also recited shayari and poetry, especially ‘Hum dekhenge’ by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Aise dastoor ko subha e benoor ko’ by Habib Jalib.

On January 30, the day the Father of the Nation was assassinated, these students enacted the scene of the assassination and paid homage to Gandhiji by remembering his teachings. Similarly, every day the students come up with something new to keep the protest alive and going, drawing inspiration from the Shaheen Bagh protest in Delhi.

“Every evening a policeman comes regularly to observe us,” said Zubair Alam, a student of final year. “Our peaceful protest will go on till the draconian laws are revoked”, he said. This is sure enough with activists, doctors, research scholars and others coming regularly to express their solidarity. Even tourists from Turkey during their visit to the Charminar came in the college campus on seeing the protest banners.

performing a skit

“Daily and consistent protest by the students of Jamia Tibbi College is really appreciable and shows their concern and commitment to make the establishment roll back CAA NPR and NRC,” said Sharifa Siddiqui, activist and counselor.

Appreciating the efforts of the students of the Nizamia Tibbi College, Shiba Minai, activist-journalist said, “Hyderabad may not be having it’s Shaheen Bagh but we have this students’ protest which is unique and interesting.” Minai particularly lauded the students for being politically aware and responsible. She praised the students for coming up with creative ways to add to their protest and instead of just confining it to sloganeering. 

“The fact that the protest is happening in the backdrop of Charminar which is representative of Hyderabad is significant and this is one of the best kind of protest happening across Hyderabad-Secunderabad”, she added.