This is Arts SU's statement of solidarity with Indian students against the CAA.
Arts SU stands in solidarity with students across India protesting against the highly discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019. We condemn the police violence unleashed on students in Jamia Milia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Cotton University, Nadwa University, and other Indian educational institutions where students are trying to exercise their constitutionally protected right to protest.
To deny students their inherent right to voice dissent, directly attacks the foundations of a democratic society. As representatives of UAL students, and as members of a civil society, we believe in the power of collective action and we will continue to agitate against institutions that use fear tactics, and violence to silence minority voices.
The arts have always created spaces where diversity and inclusion can flourish, and where freedom of speech is valued above all else. Arts SU wants to re-iterate that such spaces will always exist for our Muslim students, and we condemn any legislature that systematically discriminates on the basis of religion.
The Citizens Amendment Act stipulates preferential treatment to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Parsis from India’s neighbouring countries, while excluding religious minorities such as Muslims, Ahmadis, Rohingyas, and Sri Lankan Tamils. India’s plans to expand the National Register for Citizens (NRC) will force the entire population to prove its citizenship; this primarily plays with the fate of India’s 200 million Muslims, who could end up stateless and in internment camps.
Arts SU views the current situation in India with great concern; we are saddened that the Indian government is polarising its citizens along the lines of religion and hate politics. We also condemn misinformation spread by political alliances and news channels aimed at discrediting the protests. Arts SU offers our unconditional support to everyone peacefully exercising their right to protest.
Selective democracy is not democracy and a government that censors dissent violates the same constitution it swears to protect. We at Arts SU believe the CAA should be repealed to prevent setting a dangerous precedent. The Students' Union condemns, in no uncertain terms, the violent police and state action that is allowing the nation to be divided along sectarian lines.
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