December 2019 is etched in the minds of students across the country. India was erupting in spontaneous protests, against the newly constituted Citizenship Amendment Act, with young students leading the charge. Assam, my home state, was under curfew too. A group of us—students from the Northeast—had gathered at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on the morning of 15 December, with an appeal for peace.
On what was to be Jamia Millia Islamia’s unending night, I decided to visit my friends there, along with Sakshi*, a friend from JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University), where I had moved after my master’s at Jamia.
As the cab dropped us at Sarai Jullena, we could see clouds of billowing black smoke—the road leading to the Jamia campus was packed with locals and students. It was past 5 p.m. now. We walked towards Gate No. 7, where we met our friends and found that one of them was injured in a stampede. Apparently there had been a police lathi charge less than an hour ago. Before we could begin to discuss it, the guards at the gate, otherwise very strict about student IDs, pushed us into the campus. The police were approaching the campus, we were told. Without a word, we rushed in and the guards locked the gate behind us. I felt a surge of relief on being able to enter, as I had forgotten my wallet and identification card.
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