POLITICS
19/12/2019 3:51 PM IST | Updated 19/12/2019 4:01 PM IST

CAA Protests: IIM Bengaluru Staff Has Plan B To Work Around Section 144 Curbs

Protestors at the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore have a different strategy to oppose the new citizenship law. They will take turns to stand in groups of three to avoid section 144 curbs yet continue with their protest.

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Entrance to the campus of the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. Established in 1973, the Bangalore school is one of the 13 IIMs established in India to provide quality post-graduate management education. The Bangalore school has been ranked one of the best business schools in India and the Asia-Pacific region.

Forced by the Bengaluru city police’s imposition of  section 144 which prohibits a gathering of five or more people in a given area, and subsequent detentions of many well known personalities in the city including Ramachandra Guha, some academics at the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) have come up with an alternative strategy to continue their protests but by being within the bounds of the restrictions in force. 

Students, teachers and staffers from IIM-B who wish to continue their protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, will continue to do so by taking turns to stand in groups of three outside the campus gate beginning 6 pm today. They will hold placards and stand at the gate to continue their protest against the law, although in a severely restricted and silent manner. 

“Section 144  allows groups of 3-4 to take turns to protest.  Some of us are organizing a protest where three IIMB members will take turns to protest. We will be at the IIMB main gate at 6:00 PM.  At any given time only three of us are going to be outside the main gate. We will be within the bounds of Section 144 and yet register our protest against the divisive CAA-NRC, the police brutality against Jamia and AMU students, and the arbitrary imposition of “144” and arrests across the country,” explained Prof Deepak Malghan in an email communication to all staff, academics and students at the IIM-B earlier today. 

That the protest is organised to send a coherent message, while also ensuring that no one gets detained or arrested, is evident from the specific instructions that Prof. Malghan gave in his email. “I look forward to seeing several of you at the IIMB main gate at 6:00 PM this evening (Thursday, Dec 19th).  Please note that any given time, only three of us will be on the road in front of the campus. We will take turns. This will be a silent protest (feel free to bring posters, however) and there will be NO marches of any kind. A three person team goes out to the road in front of the main gate, stands there in protest, before being replaced by the next three-person team,” he wrote. 

Please note that any given time, only three of us will be on the road in front of the campus. We will take turns. This will be a silent protest (feel free to bring posters, however) and there will be NO marches of any kind. A three person team goes out to the road in front of the main gate, stands there in protest, before being replaced by the next three-person teamProf. Deepak Malghan in an email to the IIM-B Community

The IIM-B is widely considered to be one of the best management schools in India. It’s staffers are not as frequently vocal on controversial political issues as those in many other universities like the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. This is among the rare issues on which a vocal section within the IIM-B is seeking to mobilise protest.  

In a brief interview with HuffPost India, Prof Malghan, who clarified that he was speaking in a personal capacity, explained why he and his colleagues were trying all means to register their protest against the Narendra Modi-led government’s new law. 

“The CAA goes against the founding principles of our republic. The CAA as it is written (we do not yet know how it will actually be operationalized) will likely not benefit even its intended beneficiaries. When combined with a nationwide NRC, it has rightly terrified over 200 million fellow Muslim citizens. The CAA-NRC is a frontal attack on the core constitutional principles that define our republic. Let me not mince any words here. The CAA-NRC lays out the scaffolding for a Hindu Rashtra. All thinking Indians must do everything to resist this naked assault on the constitution,” he wrote over email. 

When asked how many people does he expect to join this rather peculiar, if restricted, protest, Prof. Malghan was candid but indicated that there is significant support on campus since many signed an open letter to the Prime Minister recently. 

“I have no idea how many will show up. I can let you know later this evening. Just a few days back, about 175 IIMB members signed an open letter to the PM on this subject,” he wrote.