Published: 19th December 2019
More than 100 UoH students detained even before anti-CAA protest started
The students had not begun their protest before the police entered their vehicle and rerouted the driver
The posters distributed among students at Hyderabad Central University had made it crystal clear. Students who were participating in the HCU Students' Union's All India Protest Call to reject the Citizenship Amendment Act and all-India National Register of Citizens would assemble at the university gates at 9 am. The union had arranged a bus to take the students to the Exhibition Ground from where they would march to the Public Gardens. Almost half an hour since the decided time, more than 100 of the protesting students had disappeared from the campus.
Since the massive protests in Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University, police have been cracking down on student protests across the states. The students of HCU had braved this air of violence and fear when they chose to participate in the struggle and represent their university. When their classmates and friends scampered to get in touch with them, all they were received with was radio silence. A few panicked moments later, urgent posts began to appear on their Instagram and WhatsApp stories announcing that they had been detained by the police and were taken to Moinabad Police Station.
Haseena C, a student pursuing her Phd in Communications speaks calmly through a background surrounded with chaos, "We reached the police station almost an hour ago. All that we have been told is that we have been detained, they have not said anything about bail or how we can go forward. They have told us that they have been given a circular to arrest any students protesting the CAA or NRC."
She continues, "We reached the main gates and made our way into the bus that had already been arranged. Suddenly, the police started streaming in through both sides and took over the bus. They gave us no information about where the bus was headed. For almost an hour, we were going back and forth, we thought we'd be headed to Gachibowli Police Station, but they were driving us to the outskirts."
Venkateshwar, an officer from the Moinabad Police Station concurred that the students had been brought there. "The metropolitan police brought them here and they have been put under preventive custody. From what we understand, the students needed to be taken away from the main city to prevent any issues like violence from arising. We don't know how long they will be here."
Haseena says, "At this point, we do not see any point in talking to the police. We had not even started the protest. There was no violence or anger in sight, what explanation do they have for this? The first slogans we raised were completely peaceful and merely about CAA and the need to get rid of it. But they pounced on us before we could even get anything out." The students now wait to know what will become of them with half swallowed slogans for justice still fresh at the end of their lips.