On a cold January evening, a gang of masked infiltrators armed with sticks and iron rods entered the ruggedly beautiful and usually well-preserved campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, one of India's most renowned educational institutions.
They Headed to a venue Where faculty members and students were calmly discussing the increase in hostel accommodation fee and attacked those gathered there.
Crowd who JNU students have accused Was a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student organization associated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), then went on to vandalize student residences, apparently also targeting Dalit, Muslim and Kashmiri students.
Notably, the Delhi Police, which had already gathered outside the campus, did not respond to the victims' help as they were waiting for Vice Chancellor M Jagdish Kumar to allow them to enter the campus. .
near There were 30 people Injured, Including Aish Ghosh, head of the JNU Students Union, who had a head wound.
The incident attracted international media attention, with Stinging's editorials, and widespread condemnation from academics around the world, testifying to JNU's own profile rather than violence. For the fact that today violent attacks on university campuses in India have become routine.
Before the JNU incident, two historic Muslim universities, Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi And Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, Both were targeted, not by the mob, but by the police, who beat up the student protesters. In a context where religious minorities are being singled out for discrimination and violence, JNU, the target of a public relations disaster, has surprised some India watchers.
What happened should be increasingly understood as an ideological civil war and the opening of another war. It is an India where not only a minority but any individual or institution that pushes back against a state-sponsored large-scale attack faces the threat of punitive violence, whether from the state or directly from the mob.
As of this date, the Kafkaesque chawl that appears to be the new normal in India, Charges have been filed Instead, right-wing activists were caught on camera against victims of JNU violence, including Ghosh.
This civil war, which has remained quietly for many years, has come in a flashpoint around the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which has been oddly but accurately Described In making religion a criterion for offering asylum and citizenship, as "fundamentally discriminatory in nature" by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Jointly with the Planned National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), it will present many communities, most prominently and importantly, Muslims – long demolished by the governing party – to remove citizenship Sensitive to and after being detained. Exile.
In this context, the growing protests against CAA, in which university students have played a major role, are significant and heartwarming. Many who have remained silent for a long time are now standing up and refusing to be part of a fundamentally discriminatory national unit.
In the past few weeks, the Indian Constitution has repeatedly discussed the plurality and collective preamble of the Indian Constitution in all the protests that took place in more than one city.
It is moving to see people of different religious backgrounds who re-embody themselves in the vision of a nation that aspires to be just, equal and plural. It is also impressive to see a large number of Indian Muslims claiming for the nation, their rights under the Constitution and religious and cultural identities together.
There is no doubt that in these protests many of us are listening heartily to the great people whose hearts have been getting heavier with each passing day in the last six years which has the fanaticism of Narendra Modi Hindutva version of nationalism Significant progress has been made for the achievement of an excluded and extremist "Hindu nation".
Equally, what has become apparent in the violence used on campuses and protesters and other dissidents is that it is a system that enables not only the full force of law and security forces, but vigilante groups such as the mob Is ready to do. Attacked JNU. There have been peaceful protesters against the CAA Under colonial era law Large ceremonies were stopped and hundreds of them detained while they remained in protest.
Some people, including former civil service officer Kannan Gopinathan and activist Sadaf Jafar, have been detained. Jafar has done said He was beaten while in police custody in Uttar Pradesh.
Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad was also detained After several days of protests against CAA. There is a risky activity in India today.
The JNU attacks were above a message that the current government is not happy for the fight and can now escalate into street violence, not just ideological. This is why it was important to break up a peaceful meeting of academics and students: Discussion and debate are off the table in favor of the language of iron rods, stones and tear gas.
Although the violence of the state has long been exposed by the people of Kashmir, now six months after being unilateral, the message is being spread all over India. Repeal of section 370 Which gave historically necessary special status to that region, is that any dissatisfaction will not be tolerated in India.
JNU has been in the sights of this government before, not least because the question of Kashmir was up for debate and discussion – as it should be in any accountable democracy – on that campus. It brought colonial-era legislation against "treason" over the heads of JNU students.
In the last few days, the Police Commissioner of New Delhi has been given emergency powers under the Draconian National Security Act for the next three months. As one disgruntled journalist said, the message that is now being loudly and clearly indicated is that Indian democracy cannot have much time.
Those currently in power are part of a political divide, who cannot plan for a long-term democratic mandate in the first place, for still less accountability.
The world should worry. What happens in India is about one-fifth of the world's population. And especially in the context of the global rise of totalitarian moralism, the weak and eventual repeal of democracy in India will not be contained within the boundaries of that nation-state.
With few exceptions, Western and other governments have been shamefully silent on the ongoing attack on democracy and constitutional rights in India. It may suit them to remain silent but around the world, we must now oppose people's alliances that will surely become a global attack on the idea of democracy itself. Speak for India, Speak for yourself.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Al Jazeera.