We held each other’s hand tightly when the police personnel were standing outside the gate with full force, water cannons, tear gas, rubber guns and what not! For the pain and embarrassment that the students have suffered for so long, they gave us 5 minutes to resolve.
5 minutes to disperse 500 students who have been sitting there day in and day out. The sound of the locks being broken somehow synced with our thumping hearts, it was seeming that the sound just got louder with every bang.
The gates were open, the screeching of the magnanimous entrance gate to the university, which had been locked-down by the students against the atrocities of the administration was open.
All of a sudden, the students sitting there went so vulnerable. The police personnel kept pouring in. Left, right, left. In no time they had fenced us from all sides. No student dared to look into the eyes of the police. Sitting there with a thumping heart, hands held tight and head bowed down, each one of us must have asked ourselves- “Is this what we had come for. What is our fault?”
All the sense and belief of living in a democracy with rights and duties suddenly was wiped out from our minds and hearts. The police kept announcing, “Aaapke is pradarshan ko najayaz ghoshit kar dia jata hai. Aap sabhi se anurodh hai ki aap itar-bitar ho jaae nahi to prashasan apni aage ki karwaai karega”.
For the past three days, never did our Vice-Chancellor return to look at the wretched conditions of the students. After so many requests, the Patron-in-Chief of the university did not even turn back once to come and sooth the wounds of the students. And here we are, sharing our own university campus with so many police force.
I will be honest, as they switched on the water cannon tank and aimed it towards the university gate, my heart started skipping beats, and the voice seemed monstrous. Everyone would have shed a little drop of tear in their hearts contemplating all the hurt and wound the water-cannon and the long-white and silver lathis would cause to our bodies.
The police van kept going in and out, in an attempt to uproot the students from that place, we still kept holding each other and shift towards the right to let the van comfortably enter our university.
A hush news came from the front that five of our friends, recording the event for our own defense, were caught ruthlessly and kept in the van. The belief broke once again and there was a jamming pain in our hearts. The distressful siren of the police van echoed right in our ears as it passed a centimeter away from the corner-most student.
The police walked through the crowd and uprooted the tents, there was again a sound of hammering the nails which were dug in the ground to keep our shelter intact. The shelter was gone, we became even more vulnerable as we sat right beneath the sky. A chilling sensation ran up our spines as the wind directly came and hit us from all sides, but the students did not move. They now folded their hands and kept their head down as they were stripped of everything that they have ever believed in.
Not a single student agitated, not a single one repelled. The strength of the law students still showed their belief in law and order, they kept reminding themselves what Hon’ble Justice Krishna Iyer said, that an unarmed, peaceful protest procession in the land of `salt satyagraha’, fast-unto-death and “do or die” is no jural anathema.
The force returned, after intimidating us. The gates are still open. The administration passes by the venue of protest daily with their whooping long-sedans. The students have been pushed on one side of the road, where they have made tents using bedsheets and old banners.
I cannot count on my fingers, how many of us have fallen sick due to scorching heat and still slug down antibiotics each morning to gather strength and sit there. But we continue to sit there, be it heat or heavy rain. Our hearts weep, every day, as we wait to be addressed by her guardians.