Terming the Citizenship Amendment Act "unconstitutional", and condemning the police violence on student protests against the law, 538 former students of National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore and 432 former students of National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS) Kochi have released statements.
The statement by NLSIU alumni said :
" As professionals trained in the law, we are deeply cognizant of the impact that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) will have on the poor and religious minorities. By purporting to extend citizenship to only certain religious communities while excluding others, the CAA cannot claim to be a secular legislation. Together with the proposed NRC, this would mean that Indian Muslims who are unable to establish their citizenship through the onerous documentary requirements will be stripped of their citizenship rights. Indians of other religions have a path available to them of regaining citizenship, but the onerous requirement of proving citizenship through historical documentation coupled with vulnerabilities of misinformation, illiteracy and poverty make it highly likely that this citizenship verification exercise will be a crushing burden for vulnerable Indians across religious lines."
The statement further added,
"It is imperative in the light of present events that the Constitution is preserved and upheld. Political fence sitting and toeing safety lines by not speaking truth to power is unacceptable. There are few who may yet stand in the way of a breakdown of India's secular fabric. It is imperative that they do. The CAA and the proposed NRC are unconstitutional and run afoul of the ethos of the Constitution and the tenets on which this nation was built. We demand:
(i) Repeal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 and withdrawal of the proposed National Register of Citizens;
(ii) Withdrawal of all police and paramilitary forces from university campuses;
(iii) Independent inquiry and accountability of police and paramilitary officials involved in the crackdown on university campuses including JMI, AMU, DU, Cotton University and others, and those under whose command the crackdowns took place;
(iv) Cooperation of all university administrations in securing spaces for their students to exercise their fundamental rights; and
(v) Withdrawal of all prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure that the fundamental right to dissent is respected and protected."
Statement by former students of NUALS, Kochi
432 former students of NUALS, Kochi also released a statement condemning CAA as well as in solidarity with the protesters across India. Their statement read,
" It is our position that the Act is ex facie unconstitutional as it drives a deeply polarizing divide in our Country purely on the basis of religion. It is trite law that every piece of legislation must be understood not merely in terms of its form, but in terms of the tangible, real effects it has on the society to which it is applied. While the Act - in its form -seeks to protect refugees, it only serves to divide us all in its essence. We believe that the Act is unconstitutional not least because it is an under-inclusive law based on an unreasonable, irrelevant differentia contrary to the requirements in Article 14 of the Constitution of India. It is unconstitutional because it is a colorable legislation which instills in every Muslim citizen in the country - illegal migrant or not -a genuine, real, tangible fear that in this country, they would be subject to disabilities purely on account of their religion."
While expressing their concern over the revocation of internet and communication lines, they said,
"Moreover, dissent is the life-blood of any democracy. Widespread misuse of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure coupled with shutdown of the internet and communication lines can only be understood as determined attempts to muffle dissent. Fundamental Rights are not watertight compartments. It is our position that the Act and official response to protests in the wake of its passage - in effect- impinge upon Fundamental Rights enshrined under Articles 14, 19, 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India."
The statement carried a disclaimer that the views expressed were of the "undersigned alone".
"The remaining alumni/students of NUALS may or may not subscribe to these views, and it is up to them to express the same. It is for this freedom of expression and liberty that the undersigned stand for", it said.
Last week, over 400 NUJS alumni had criticized the Act for being violative of India's International obligations, apart from the Indian Constitution.
The students and alumni of the Tamil Nadu National Law University also condemned the CAA, viewing it as an assault on the secular values of India.
Alumni of Symbiosis International University, ILS Law College Pune, National Law University Jodhpur, Gujarat National Law University have also come out in support of the students protests in JMU, AMU, DU etc.
On December 16, a joint statement was issued by the student bodies of NLS, NUALS, NALSAR, MNLU Mumbai, MNLU Nagpur, NLUO, HNLU and NUSRL expressing solidarity with the students of Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and the Arts Faculty of Delhi University (DU). Similar statements were issued by the Student Council of NLUD, NLUJ and the Legal Aid Clinic of Jindal Global Law School. The Student Union of Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, Delhi University issued a statement condemning the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
Students and alumni from 19 Foreign Universities including Harvard And Yale have also come out in support of anti-CAA protests.
Click here to read NLSIU former students' statement
Click here to read NUALS former students' statement
Read NLSIU statement
Read NUALS ex-students' statement