Harebrained actions will alienate the youth

Published: Dec 26, 2019, 05:10 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

You don't need to be a major in political sciences or history to see the many ironies in India expelling a German student who was protesting against what some are comparing to the policies of Nazi Germany

A screengrab of the photo posted by Chinta Bar on their Twitter page
A screengrab of the photo posted by Chinta Bar on their Twitter page

India earlier this week asked a German exchange student at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras to leave the country because he participated in one of the peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens.

You don't need to be a major in political sciences or history to see the many ironies in India expelling a German student who was protesting against what some are comparing to the policies of Nazi Germany.

Several of those supporting the government's move — which, by the way, happened via an oral communication to the student by officers who refused to identify themselves or give any orders in writing — say that visa conditions stipulate that a person cannot protest against any issue of the host country.

Irrespective of what the norms may be, it is self-defeating to expel a student because he protested against a government policy. Soon after this self-goal came the news that the Lucknow University expelled a student for sharing a social media post criticising the CAA. Elsewhere, governments are claiming to have 'identified rioters' who indulged in arson and vandalism on the sidelines of the anti-CAA protests in Delhi and various cities of Uttar Pradesh.

All these moves not only seem like they have no legal standing, they also — more worryingly — show that the ruling dispensation is seeking to muzzle peaceful dissent with an iron fist.

Worse, such high-handedness will only alienate the youth and the student community. With each passing day, and each harebrained action, the government is further losing the support of the next generation.

It is difficult to say whether these moves will result in the spread of the protests to newer areas and demographics. But it is certainly not difficult to see that these moves will not stop the protests. This country's students and youth have already shown that they are far more resilient and smart for that.

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