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Women, girls take centrestage in anti-CAA protests in Aligarh Muslim University

ALIGARH: Women and girl protesters have taken centrestage in the ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) over the past few days at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) as well as in the old city.

A large number of girls blocked all traffic within the AMU campus on Monday, forming a human chain at the main crossing near the university guesthouse, while at Shahjamal under the Delhi Gate police station, hundreds of women from the neighbouring localities continued with their round-the-clock sit-in that is going on for three days.

On January 30, when a large number of women held their first protest at the Eidgah grounds, police had slapped cases against about 250 people, most of them unidentified, for violating prohibitory orders.

Despite this, they have continued with their indefinite “dharna” and are spending the nights under the open sky.

Despite attempts, no senior police official is willing to comment on the ongoing dharna.

At the AMU, girls in large numbers resumed their protest on the main road leading to the campus from the Baab-e-Syed gate on Monday.

The Students Coordination Committee said the protest intensified primarily because there was no visible action on their demand for withdrawing the false cases lodged by the police in connection with the anti-CAA protests.

Also, they had demanded the resignation of senior university officials for their moral responsibility in the alleged police excesses inside the campus, but not a single official was removed.

When contacted, AMU spokesperson Omar Peerzada said till Monday afternoon, classes were held in almost all the faculties but subsequently, some protesters assembled at the Baab-e-Syed gate.

The process for withdrawing false cases was a long-drawn one and despite their best efforts, it was bound to take some time, he said, adding that the university was actively pursuing the matter with the district authorities.

Peerzada said senior professors of the university were constantly making all necessary attempts to persuade the protesting students to ensure that their stir was peaceful and did not disturb any academic activity.

He added that the vice-chancellor had already initiated necessary action on almost all the major demands raised by the students.

The AMU spokesperson said on their part, the protesters had to ensure that no troublemakers from outside the campus succeeded in disturbing the university’s academic schedule.