"We are not criminals": Mumbai University students targeted by Police for protesting

After the protest concluded, the Mumbai Police entered Kalina campus and “forcefully detained” two protesters – Avinash Kumar and Baban Sopan Thoke. However, they were released later.

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Mumbai Police on Wednesday detained protestors from Kalina campus of Mumbai University where the students were peacefully protesting against the “institutional murder” of a 19-year-old Muslim student from IIT-Madras.

After the protest concluded, the Mumbai Police entered Kalina campus and “forcefully detained” two protestors – Avinash Kumar and Baban Sopan Thoke. 

Avinash Kumar, who belongs to Disha Students Organisation, informed Mumbai Live that police targeted him and his associate Baban Thoke and forcefully took them to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) police station. 

Kumar told that they were inside the university campus when a few policemen came inquiring about the protestors. 

...they targeted me saying that I was from JNU and took me away. We are not criminals. A policeman, in a threatening tone, told me that you don’t understand our power,” said Kumar.

The protest was organised by Maharashtra Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, along with Mumbai University students who also stood with banners showing solidarity for the ongoing resistance in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) over fee hike. 

Baban Sopan Thoke, who is a student of MA History in Mumbai university, alleged that he was manhandled by the police before he was taken to the BKC police station.

While talking to Mumbai Live, Thoke informed that when he asked the police to provide a reason for his detention, a senior police officer told him, “I can destroy your career in five minutes”.

We are students but the police treated us like 'gundas'. This is misuse of power. We were forcefully detained,” said Baban Thoke.

Mumbai All India Students’ Federation (AISF) Secretary Aamir Kazi informed that they had taken the permission to protest earlier. However, their permission was cancelled and sections 144 and 149 were imposed on Tuesday evening.

...however, we were allowed to protest on Wednesday after requesting. Despite this, the police came and detained protestors from inside the campus,” said Kazi. 

The students in JNU are protesting for the last 22 days demanding to roll back the fee hike which will affect the people who come from the marginalised background.

On the first day of winter session on Monday, Delhi police assaulted several JNU students who participated in the long march to Parliament to press their demands. Several student organisations from various universities held demonstrations in solidarity with the JNU students. 

Moreover, the students across the country have protested demanding justice for Fatima Latheef after she committed suicide over religious discrimination and harassment in IIT-Madras. Fatima Latheef, 19, was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her hostel room on November 9 and left a note in her mobile phone naming one of the faculty members as the cause of her death.


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