The Jawaharlal Nehru University campus witnessed an attack by masked men on Sunday evening, students and teachers were left bleeding and gravely injured, public property was damaged, and an environment of fear was created. Students also claim that while people were being brutally beaten, the Delhi police stood on the sidelines and watched as the incident unfolded. No arrests have been made so far. Protesting this, citizens showed up in big numbers across the country, objecting to the violence against students.
Protests were held in universities across the world-- from Jadavpur University in Kolkata to Oxford Univesity in the United Kingdom. People held placards and chanted slogans of azadi against tyranny. One that got a lot of attention was the protest in Mumbai where people sat on the street outside Gateway of India, starting from Sunday midnight and it went on for an entire day yesterday.
There was another protest on Carter Road in Mumbai in solidarity with the JNU students, which saw Bollywood celebrities like Vishal Bhardwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Taapsee Pannu, and Richa Chadha among others.
Talking to the crowd, actor, and activist, Swara Bhasker whose mother, Ira Bhasker is a professor in JNU said, "What happened in JNU was shameful and condemnable. It’s beyond words how dangerous the situation in the country is right now. We’re under a regime where anyone who questions, is shut down in an attempt to silence dissent. Whether it’s Jamia incident, AMU or JNU, I don’t think India is a democracy anymore. We can’t even trust the police anymore."
She urged everyone to break their silence and said that it was all too much.
"I am hoping now everyone in the country will break their silence. It’s enough. There’s a saying in Hindi, bahut hua sammaan. We have reached that stage in this country where we have shown enough respect to the government and law and order machinery, which have repeatedly failed to fulfill their responsibility. They are only doing wrong by the country’s constitution,” the Veere Di Wedding actor added.
Carter Road. Mumbai for JNU! pic.twitter.com/hIA5DOChSf— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) January 6, 2020
Richa Chadha and Shweta Tripathi also carried signs that read "We're going to outlive you! Give up" and "Dystopian future is now our current affairs."
Talking about the brutality, Richa said, "Where gurus are given the status of God, there a professor was attacked. What is happening? They are beating up women with iron rods. Citizens of this country aren’t fools. Please behave."
Tricolour is the star.— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) January 6, 2020
No one shall steal your thunder 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/UpJDGcP0J2
Director Anurag Kashyap, who recently broke his Twitter hiatus over the violence in Jamia Millia Islamia by the police also attended the protest. He said, "I condemn the way police are controlled. We stand by the students, and they are our inspiration."
He said that it is the students who have woke him up and are showing him the way. He insisted that he returned to Twitter because of them. "I stand with them. I stand behind them. I am learning from them," the Gangs of Wasseypur director added.
Badla actor, Taapsee Pannu said that she was at a loss of words after seeing what happened in JNU.
She added, "I thought this (peaceful protest) was the least I could do to show my solidarity with the students. I just want to tell them, ‘We are with you.’ We go out to promote our films in colleges and universities and expect students to buy our film’s tickets and make us stars. Today, when they need us and if we can’t even do this for them then it’s unfair."
Masaan director, Neeraj Ghaywan also shared a video of filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj reciting poetry to voice his dissent.
He along with his wife and singer Rekha Bhardwaj also performed Aao Na from his movie Haider. Singer and lyricist Swanand Kirkire sang Baawra Mann from Sudhir Mishra's Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. Iconic protest songs like We Shall Overcome and Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna were also sung by the protestors.
Vishal also recited the famous poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Hum Dekhenge, which was recently called anti-Hindu and came under a lot of controversy.
हम मायूस नहीं हैं, हम हैरान नहीं— Vishal Bhardwaj (@VishalBhardwaj) January 6, 2020
जैसा सोचा था तुम वैसे ही निकले
सच भी झूठा झूठा लगने लगता है
झूठ भी इतनी सच्चाई से बोलते हो
फ़र्क़ कहाँ करते हो तुम बाशिंदों में
बस मज़हब के काँटे पर ही तोलते हो
We need answers for the lawlessness #JNUattack
Dia Mirza also attended the protest and sang along to show her dissent. She took to Twitter and wrote, "How long will this be allowed to continue? How long will you turn a blind eye? How long will the defenceless be attacked in the name of politics or religion? Enough is enough.
#Bollywood Celebs sending out a msg to students who were attacked that they are hand in hand with them. @VishalBhardwaj singing at #carterroad with his friends from the film industry #JNUViolence pic.twitter.com/HQyzWjfvGd— Rohit Khilnani (@rohitkhilnani) January 6, 2020
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara director, Zoya Akhtar also chanted slogans of Inquilab Zindabad along with the crowd.
Ankur Tewari, the man behind Gully Boy's 18-song album also took to Twitter to pen down a moving poem on the incident that took place.
तेरे ज़ालिम इरादों के— Ankur Téwari (@ankurtewari) January 5, 2020
जुल्मों सितम सहें
वो हम नहीं
जो ख़ौफ़ के कहर से
ख़ामोश रह गये
वो हम नहीं
जो आग बुझ जाए
बस हवाओं से
वो हम नहीं
जो मज़हब के बहाने
आपस में लड़ रहे
वो हम नहीं
अपनों को पीछे चोड़
आगे जो चल पड़े pic.twitter.com/MBZ7xcoHT3
Anil Kapoor recently said that he was losing sleep at night after coming to terms with what had happened and that he was deeply disturbed. At the trailer launch of his movie Malang, he said, "Nothing is going to happen with violence. Those who have done this should be punished."
Sonam Kapoor also took to Instagram and penned down a note on the ongoing fight that the country is in.
The Neerja actor wrote, "Very rarely do I get into politics on social media because my first thought is who really cares what I think? Am I equipped to give an opinion on a public platform about things that I may barely understand? But now I have to say that I know our generation and when we look back I’m afraid we may be remembered for things we didn’t stand for. I know this is not who we are. This is not what we believe."
Talking about the state of the country, she added, "What’s happening in our country seems alien and unrecognisable. Im not sure how we got here. It’s always been a hidden truth that you may be punished if your opinions are too loud or unpopular. But now it’s there to see. And that scares the shit out of me. My thoughts are with the students at JNU you are so much braver than I could ever be. 🖤"
Writer and actor, Twinkle Khanna also shared her views on the violence in universities saying that the country is becoming safer for cows than students.
India,where cows seem to receive more protection than students, is also a country that now refuses to be cowed down. You can’t oppress people with violence-there will be more protests,more strikes,more people on the street. This headline says it all. pic.twitter.com/yIiTYUjxKR— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) January 6, 2020
A phenomenal night at Mumbai’s Carter Rd. The directors (Kashyap, Bhardwaj, Sinha, Akhtar) calmly directed, the singers and poets sang and recited, the actors (Richa, Taapsee, Dia, Swara, Ali) chimed in, the audiences watched and participated. Truly a Bombay blockbuster. pic.twitter.com/Krx1t09SoQ— Ankur Pathak (@aktalkies) January 6, 2020
It's heartwarming to see Bollywood celebrities who come under a lot of flack for not speaking up in political matters, take a stand. The perpetrators and masked gundas have still not been identified by the police, we hope this happens soon and justice is served.
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