Monday, 30th October 2017

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Oxbridge protests

100 students of Cambridge University came together at King’s Parade on Sunday to mark India’s 70th Republic Day

By Sanjay Mandal in Calcutta
  • Published 28.01.20, 2:09 AM
  • Updated 28.01.20, 2:09 AM
  • a min read
Protesters at Oxford University on Republic Day Sourced by The Telegraph

Students and teachers of Oxford and Cambridge universities read the Preamble to the Constitution of India and held protests against CAA, NRC and NPR on Republic Day.

Nearly 100 students, staff and alumni of Cambridge University came together at King’s Parade on Sunday to mark India’s 70th Republic Day and express solidarity with those in India fighting to protect the democratic and secular values enshrined in the Preamble.

The Oxford protest took place in front of Clarendon Building, on Broad Street.

Vikaran Khanna, a DPhil scholar in physics at Oxford, was among those who took part in the protest. “I would characterise the event both as a celebration of our Constitution and citizenship and protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the subsequent handling of public and student protests by the government, especially in BJP-ruled states. One of the speakers said CAA was transforming into Citizen Assertiveness Act,” he said.

Protesters at Cambridge University on Sunday
Protesters at Cambridge University on Sunday

“We read the Preamble, sang the national anthem and songs such as Blowin’ in the Wind (by Bob Dylan), We Shall Overcome and Hum honge kamyab. The first word of the Preamble is ‘We’. The idea of India, and those who may constitute its citizens, is an inclusive identity. It doesn’t exclude on the basis of race, religion or language. The founders of the Indian Constitution aspired to a nation greater than the sum of its parts. Their vision, which is beautifully encapsulated in the Preamble, inspired us to be a better version of ourselves,” Khanna said, adding that the CAA in its current form was a gross violation of that vision of India.

“It is discriminatory and takes a very narrow and naive rationale for why people may be persecuted,” he said.

In Cambridge, the protesters read the Preamble and raised slogans against CAA and NRC. “The diaspora pledged to continue the movement in defence of the Constitution of India under the theme of #CambridgeForDemocracy. We explained the current situation in India to those from other nationalities who had gathered there,” said Biswanath Ghosh Dastidar, fellow at Cambridge University Hospital and alumnus of RG Kar Medical College and Oxford University. “It is the duty of every Indian to fight for the country and its Constitution, even if it means protesting an oppressive government.”