Indian students at Sheffield universities share their concerns about New Delhi violence

An Indian student has said he is ‘extremely concerned and worried’ about violence in New Delhi which has taken place over a controversial Citizenship Law that has been recently introduced by the Indian government.

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 9:21 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 12:59 pm

Tusharjeet Bhardwaj, who is an Indian student and Department Councillor for Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said that he is saddened to see the violence and that he is finding it hard to focus on his studies.

He said: “I don’t think in any circumstances I would want to go to a place where I’ll be put in a life threatening situation in no time. But at the same time, I am deeply concerned about the safety of my family and friends in India.”

The controversial law which is known as the Citizenship Amendment Act, (CAA), was introduced by the the extreme right-wing ruling party of India BJP in December and it has sparked nationwide protests.

Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wave party flags and hold placards in support of the government's new citizenship law during a rally in Chennai on February 28, 2020. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP) (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The opposition claims that the law is discriminatory and Islamophobic as it grants citizenship to only non-Muslim illegal residents in India who migrated from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

At the time of publishing the article, 53 people in Delhi have already died in the riots and more than 300 have been injured.

Harsh Trivedi, PhD Researcher at the University of Sheffield, said many Indian students studying in Sheffield are anxious about the safety of their families and some of them are nervous about their plans to go home over Easter break.

The majority of the flights from UK to India land in New Delhi, which has been the epicentre of protests and violence in the past few days.

An activist (R in green) of left-wing parties shouts slogans from a bus after being detained by security personnel as she has been protesting with other activists against India's new citizenship law and for more action for women safety, during a demonstration in Guwahati on March 6, 2020. (Photo by Biju BORO / AFP) (Photo by BIJU BORO/AFP via Getty Images)

The recent riots in Delhi that have led to many deaths, injuries and major damages in property including a mosque that was vandalised and burnt down in the Ashok Nagar area of Delhi.

Another Indian student who studies at Sheffield Hallam University, who did not wish to be named, said: “I can’t concentrate much on studies and I am constantly worried about my family.”

He said that he fears persecution by the Indian government when he goes back to India.

He added: “There were days when I used to be proud of being from India and now I’ve been postponing my visit to India since it is just not safe.”