AIIMS's Doctors, Students Hold Protest Against CAA, NRC Despite Admin Warning

A group of students, researchers, resident doctors and staff took held a candlelight march from to oppose the "state-sponsored violence" against protesters.

New Delhi: Defying the warning of the registrar of disciplinary action against those holding any protest or strike within the campus, a section of students, resident doctors and faculty members of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) held a candlelight march at the institute’s premises on Thursday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

A group of students, scientists, researchers, resident doctors and staff took held a candlelight march from the JLN auditorium till Gate no 1 of AIIMS to oppose the “state-sponsored violence” against protesters and demanding a rollback of the CAA. The demonstrators held placards, sang ‘Sare Jahan se Accha’ and read out the Preamble to the Constitution, a protester told PTI.

The AIIMS administration, ahead of a scheduled protest in the campus against CAA and the NRC on Thursday, had issued a notice barring sit-ins and protest meetings inside and around campus. Citing an order of the Delhi high court, AIIMS registrar Dr Sanjeev Laiwani in a memorandum issued on Thursday said, “There should be no activity in the nature of strike, dharna or demonstration or gherao at, or in, or around the AIIMS at all.”

Earlier on Thursday morning, Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, former president of the Resident Doctors’ Association, AIIMS, New Delhi, had tweeted requesting people to gather in large numbers in front of the JLN Auditorium at the campus for a candlelight march and poetry recitation against the CAA and the NRC at 6 pm.

“We all are Indians, don’t try to discriminate against us by our religion, we have only one identity, “We the People of India,” read the tweet by Dr Bhatti. The Resident Doctors’ Association and the Students’ Union of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), however, denied having called any such demonstration.

According to the order, violation of the order by any individual employee or group of employee, or students, resident doctors, associations or unions “will be in contravention of the High Court and hence liable of disciplinary action as well as contempt of court.”

It specifically states that no gate meeting or protest meetings of any kind whatsoever are to be held within a radius of 500 metres from the boundary wall of the institute.

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It can be recalled that on Monday the AIIMS Students Association had condemned the police action on students of Jamia Millia Islamia, terming it “violent and brutal repression of student protests”. The students’ association in its statement had noted that “it is disheartening to see the ruling party, which boasts of protesting against the might of the 1975 national emergency has restored to brutal state sponsored police repression against students, not even sparing hostels and libraries.”

“It is obvious that the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) in conjunction with a nationwide NRC (National Register of Citizens) is possible to result in a directed and vindictive vendetta against a certain minority section of our population,” it further added. A peaceful candlelight march was organised at AIIMS gate against the alleged brutal attack by police on students of Jamia and to oppose the amended citizenship Act.

Emphasising on the right to protest, the students’ body had also said that, it is time we held our elected leaders responsible to the values enshrined in the constitution and resist.  “Not doing so would be our clear failure in our duties as responsible citizens of this nation,” read the statement.

Meanwhile, the Students’ Association of AIIMS Bhopal has also strongly condemned the alleged brutal attack on the students of Jamia Millia, AMU and Lucknow University.

“We are saddened by the great violation of basic human rights that has been going on in our country. We also condemn the act of violence and damage to public property in the name of protest,” the letter of solidarity issued by the association said, demanding a “proper independent investigation”.

Note: This article was first published at 9 pm on December 19 and updated on December 20, after the protest was held.