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Who is instigating violence in colleges: Congress, NSUI, a sinister WhatsApp group and anti-CAA protests

The violent protests were mainly limited to Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia University. There was stone-pelting, some news of petrol bombs being hurled by the 'students', and sloganeering that would put the stone-pelters of Kashmir to shame. We heard slogans of 'Hinduon se Azaadi' and posters of "Khilafat 2.0".

The Citizenship Amendment Bill after being passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha got the President’s assent and has now become a law. The Act (CAA) seeks to provide citizenship to the persecuted minorities of neighbouring Islamic countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The opposition to this Act has come from very specific quarters. It perhaps seems ‘widespread’ because the news is everywhere on Social Media and rightly so. However, while the bill has received widespread support, it becomes essential to analyse where the violent opposition (anti-CAA protests) to it has emanated from, why, and most importantly, who might be instigating it.

One of the first violent ‘protests’ that we heard of was from the state of West Bengal. Violent Muslim mobs ran amuck ransacking and vandalising property. Running riots and damaging public property. The videos are several, but the message is the same – even a perceived injustice against the majority Muslims of Pakistan is going to strike a chord with Islamists in India. I saw ‘perceived’ because, in actual terms, there has been absolutely no injustice meted out to them by India as far as the Citizenship Amendment Act is concerned. This Act doesn’t concern Indian Muslims and it certainly has no power to ‘discriminate’ against Muslims who are a majority in Islamic nations.

Read: Jamia ‘protestors’ continue their violence, assault ANI journalists

Then, we saw violent protests at several Universities. Students protesting for a cause is perhaps the most powerful image and the purpose is multifold – while it generally gives the impression of ‘organic protests’ taking place, any action by the law enforcement against violent ‘students’ is met with criticism. The violent protests were mainly limited to Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia University. There was stone-pelting, some news of petrol bombs being hurled by the ‘students’, and sloganeering that would put the stone-pelters of Kashmir to shame. We heard slogans of ‘Hinduon se Azaadi’ and posters of “Khilafat 2.0”.

Soon, a dangerous narrative was being spun with several elements inciting violence, lying to make rioting “students” appear as victims of police brutality and calls for more colleges to join in.

Read: ‘Just because they are students, they can’t take law into their hands,’ CJI Bobde tells petitioners seeking judicial inquiry in Jamia incident

One had to wonder, how is this well-oiled machinery coordinating? How are all of them saying the same thing at the same time so effectively and efficiently? Who is spearheading the campaign to co-ordinate, incite violence, spread misinformation, and who are the hidden hands that are helping these “students” when they eventually run into trouble with law enforcement? It is evident that these “students” who are running riot aren’t really scared about how they would get out of trouble should the police arrest them.

The Whatsapp group for Anti-CAA protests

While speaking to several students and trying to find the answers to these questions, I was sworn to secrecy and added to a Whatsapp group that was called “Anti-CAA Protest (Law St)”. The Display Picture of the group clearly states that this group was for coordination and planning of protests against CAA in Law Universities. Specifically mentioned was that this group was made for coordination and not ‘debate or discussion’.

WhatsApp group name

The Admins of the Anti-CAA protest Whatsapp group

Once I was added to the Whatsapp group, the messages were severely anti-CAA and even bordering on some messages sounding completely Leftist. I proceeded to check the admins of the Whatsapp group.

The first admin that I noticed was one Reetam Singh. On Whatsapp, this is Reetam’s profile information.

Reetam Singh

When searched on Instagram, this is what it threw up. With the same profile picture, there was one post where Reetam was wearing a Congress scarf.

Reetam Singh Instagram account

Another post on Instagram proves Reetam Singh’s Congress association. It turns out, Reetam Singh is the NSUI National RTI Cell Coordinator. NSUI is the National Students Union of India which is a Congress Students arm.

Reetam Singh Instagram post

Another admin was one Simranjit. When searched, we found one Simranjit who clearly had Congress affiliations.

Simranjit Twitter account

Further, another admin of the Whatsapp group was one of the people who spearheaded the Aarey Metro protests. The other admins were also affiliated to NSUI.

The confirmation of Congress affiliation

Finding their links merely with their names was not enough for confirmation that this group coordinating protests against CAA was spearheaded by Congress and NSUI representatives. To get a confirmation, I tried to prod whether the admins of this group were, in fact, NSUI representatives.

Screenshot from WhatsApp chat
Screenshot from WhatsApp chat

From the chat, it is evident that the participants knew that the admins of the group were NSUI representatives. In fact, one response to my query was from Reetam Singh himself who on his Instagram had confirmed that he is NSUI functionary.

Reetam Singh’s message revealed a sinister plot. He asked people to “learn from the protests in Assam” and rudely asked that NSUI affiliation not be brought up. The Assam protests were very different from the reasons for protests by the rest of the Congress functionaries and Islamists. While the later is protesting against the exclusion of Pakistani, Bangladeshi etc Muslims in CAB, Assam is protesting not against the exclusion of Muslims but the fact that they want Clause 6 of the Assam Accord implemented. In essence, the protests in Assam actually fuels the need for NRC since Assam wants no immigrants to be settled in their state. That Congress is confounding the two points to dangerous propaganda that is being peddled.

Reetam Singh also reveals that the aim is “mass appeal”. Perhaps the reason that I was shouted down by several people and asked to not bring up NSUI connection, was that while the coordination of the protest is clearly being spearheaded by Congress, they would want to conceal that information to make it appear indigenous protest.

The aim – spearheaded by Congress but projected as organic

To confirm that the plan was to project these protests as organic protests and hide the clear NSUI affiliation, I asked my source in the WhatsApp group to ask if the protests were supposed to presented as an NSUI protest or an organic one.

As soon as the question was asked, the obvious answer that was presented was that these were supposed to be packaged as genuine protests.

In fact, the source who asked the question later got threatened by NSUI functionary Reetam Singh. He was immediately asked to clarify in the group and asked not to raise the NSUI connection in the group again.

A screenshot sent by an individual who was threatened

The group was essentially made to ensure that protests break out on the 19th of December across Law Universities and the protests appear as though these were organic ones without any political involvement. However, with this group and messages, it is evident that protests are being planned and coordinated by Congress.

Aaron Mirza, Karnataka Youth Congress spokesperson was also part of the group.

Aaron Mirza’s LinkedIn Profile

The plan by NSUI

Reetam Singh, the NSUI representative charted out the entire plan of the protests that are being planned on 19th December.

The following message was sent by him on WhatsApp (screenshot of it with the reporter).

Why are we against CAA

  1. It is against the ideals of Article 13,14 and 15
  2. It is inconsistent with NRC administered by Supreme Court making it redundant.
  3. It violates reasonable classification by using one and one criteria that is religion only when we talk in terms of Art 14. It uses only religion when reasonable classification and intelligible differentia uses more than one clauses to make a differentiation. Eg making reservations for women is justified as they have economic as well as differentiation based on sex. Here in CAA, it is religion and religion only. That too of certain countries based on religion. Not on humanitarian ground.
  4. That it violates India’s commitment to the International Declaration of Human Rights. And it’s various commitments to UN and international declaration {can provide further inputs if required}
  5. It opens the door for further religion-based differentiation laws beyond the scope of Art 25 to 30.
  6. It gives blanket citizenship to Hindu illegal migrants while Muslim migrants will be persecuted as illegals.
  7. 2.5 Crore Hindu Bangladeshis have now declared they would seek India’s citizenship { check news piece from Assomiya Pratidin whereby they have declared the intention in Bangladesh through various organisations}
  8. It is inconsistent with the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 Article 3 of the Act
  9. It is inconsistent with fundamental rights available to foreigners hence violative of Art 13. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to foreigners. Hence we see missionaries in India from abroad.
  10. It gives land rights, economic rights, voting rights to illegal Hindu Bangladeshis. Who form 5 lakh of the 12 lakh illegals identified under NRC in Assam

Why it bothers Northeast? You have estimated over 50 lakh illegal migrants in Northeast. Assam officially some say 12 lakh, initial NRC was 19 lakh. Some of them used figures as 50 lakh in Assam only. I am using a conservative estimate. Now, these people will get blanket immunity to settle here. They are not settling in Ladakh or Rajasthan or Tamil Nadu. But Northeast due to proximity and availability of vacant forest land. While in Bengal we already face a high density of population. So they won’t go there. The whole burden of resettlement comes to Northeast. Hence the aggressive protest.

Read: Citizenship Amendment Bill – Myths and lies propagated against it, and the facts

Then he charts out the plan. In his messages, wrote:

The first thing we could do in our capacity is to write letters to Chief Justice of Local High Courts to invoke their conscience. 

The main matter of the letter:

  1. Invoke Constitutional conscience and explain to them how as Guardian of Constitution at the state level they should protect the Constitutional Sanctity.
  2. Force Police to register FIR against all individuals involved in hate-mongering especially Politicians who with full impunity of state go on to make hate speeches without consequences.
  3. Take immediate action on issues of absolute National importance at the earliest without time delay. The State Counsels abuse processes of law to take 8 weeks time to 4 weeks time for instructions when they should just give 1 week of time so that cases occur in an expedited processes

First thing first, you need to mobilise your faculty teachers to take a stand. They need to write letters to their Chancellors and then to Justices of Supreme Court. That would be the 1st job. Second, we need to draft a letter. And send it to Chief Justice of India. Next is a ceremonial reading of Preamble together. We all law students have to read the Preamble together in chorus and post videos here. So that we can post it out to media. Contact your professors. See to it if they can ask faculty members to write a common letter of protest invoking conscience of the Judiciary. This is today’s plan of action. 

Further, what is even more dangerous is that the NSUI is now comparing the protests against CAA to the Arab Spring. He even says that he was a part of the ‘Occupy London’ movement. Then he says that the West Bengal protests were “wrongly” projected as Muslim protests (which is incorrect). Further, he says that the movement needs to be projected as a non-partisan movement to gain public faith. Of course, the fact that he is from Congress is a fact that has been pushed under the rug.

Screenshot from WhatsApp chat

Threats, intimidation, incitement of violence

One of the most dangerous parts of the plan was a tacit incitement of violence against those who support the Citizenship Amendment Act.

WhatsApp screenshot

The message above was sent by NSUI Reetam Singh who is the admin of this group. The message clearly calls for “confronting” people from BJP, RSS and ABVP. In fact, by the conversation that I was a witness to, it is evident that anybody who does not agree with their agenda automatically is abused, threatened and called names.

An individual who was threatened by NSUI representatives shared the conversation with me.

A screenshot sent by an individual who was threatened by NSUI

The person who is being threatened here by NSUI representatives is someone who expressed his support for CAA. He was called a “right-wing bigot” and is being told that he wants to derail the entire thing (December 19th protests).

Further, Reetam threatened several others too who did not agree with what the group was spreading about CAA.

Abuses by NSUI people

And more threats by NSUI functionary Reetam Singh.

Threats issued against people who support CAA

While they are trying to project the December 19th protests and their protest in general against CAA as an organic protest, every dissenting voice was threatened by NSUI goons and made to keep quiet in the process. They were also immediately kicked out of the WhatsApp group and specific instructions to not hold any discussion was issued.

All protests planned through the same people?

A tweet surfaced on Twitter that said that Law students from all major law schools of India were rallying against CAA.

Rishav Ranjan is also one of the admins of the WhatsApp group where these protests are being planned. In fact, this poster, the ‘solidarily statement’ and the Google form were formulated on that group itself in which the admins are from NSUI, Congress.

Rajiv Ranjan confirming banner in the group

Incidentally, it must be mentioned that Rishav Ranjan is from Yogendra Yadav’s Swarajya Abhiyaan and was also the lawyer against the Aarey Metro shed.

Screenshot from WhatsApp group

In the message above, it can be seen that the form and the solidarity statement was formulated in this group itself.

Once the statement was formulated, it was time to set the narrative.

Screenshot from WhatsApp chat

The truth is that they do not have “thousands” of people from law schools. In fact, scores of people left once it was revealed that the admins of the group were from NSUI and disgusted with the propaganda that was being spread. However, as Ranjan admits, this was about how the narrative needed to be set and hence, the line that thousands of students from law schools all over the country were protesting against CAA was adopted.

Following are the protests the group is thinking about. This and much more.

Screenshot from WhatsApp chat
Screenshot from WhatsApp group
Screenshot from WhatsApp group

There are several other protests, not just in law schools, that are being coordinated and spearheaded from such WhatsApp groups that are headed by NSUI, Congress functionaries.

Who are the people behind the scenes helping Anti-CAA protests

After the Jamia protests that turned violent with students pelting stones and the police taking action against the goons, the WhatsApp group immediately buzzed with some numbers that Jamia students and other students can contact if they fall into trouble while holding violent protests.

People to be contacted by goons if they fall into trouble

Two interesting names that cropped up, who were willing to offer help to goons screaming ‘Hinduon se azaadi’ were AAP leader Amanatullah Khan, NDTV journalist Ravish Kumar and another The Quint journalist Manvi. That these journalists and the AAP leader were directly involved in aiding the Jamia rioters, makes it obvious that these protests might be coordinated by the Left, Islamists, Congress and with the active help of such elements.

Read: AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan spotted leading the protests which turned violent in Delhi: Reports

Another element that came across was information that Harsh Mander, member of Sonia Gandhi’s planning commission who had drafted the anti-Hindu communal violence bill had reached the police station at midnight to ensure that the Jamia rioters were saved.

People to be contacted by goons if they fall into trouble

Other dangerous messages about Anti-CAA protests

There were several other messages that came to the fore from sources that have not yet been verified personally. These messages pertained to Islamists coordinating to launch attacks and protests targeted at police personnel and Hindus of India. Some of these were shared on social media and have gone viral since then.

From these messages, it is evident that the coordination is focussed at inciting needless violence for the sake of violence.

Anti-CAA protests: Conclusion

The group that I was a part of was clearly coordinating protests on 19th December across law colleges of India. It was also evident that scores of people left the group when the clearly partisan agenda was revealed. In fact, at a point of time, the NSUI goons started bad-mouthing veteran lawyer Harish Salve and calling him a stooge, at that point of time, several had quit the group. This group was specifically made for coordinating protests in law colleges. One can only imagine how many more groups are being spearheaded by Congress and NSUI coordinating attacks and protests in other places and universities.

Evidently, the protests are not organic. They are clearly coordinated by Congress while trying their best to ensure that the Congress, NSUI connect does not get revealed so these protests can then be used by Congress politically to say that the “Nation is against CAA and Modi”. A sinister plan seems to be afoot to promote anarchy and bloodshed. What remains to be seen is how law enforcement tackles the situation.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Nupur J Sharma
Nupur J Sharma
Editor-in-Chief, OpIndia.

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