VARANASI: In a surprise move, 51 professors of the prestigious Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and its affiliated colleges have launched a signature campaign against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The BHU is seen as a right-wing institution that rarely involves itself in mainstream politics.
The move comes after the arrest of at least a dozen BHU students for participating in a protest called by Left organisations on December 19.
Of the 12 arrested students, three are PhD students and eight are doing their M.A. degree and one is a B.A. student. At least three of these arrested live in hostels inside the campus and have mentioned this under the address section of the First Information Report.
In a signed document, the professors have said: "We request the government to rethink the long-term implications of the CAA and hope national interest would prevail over partisan politics. We also urge the protesters not to indulge in any kind of violence and express their disagreement through democratic and peaceful means."
BHU students stood with arrested students in CAA case. They have expressed their solidarity with 69 arrested people and demanded their immediate release.
An eight-year-old boy died in a stampede allegedly triggered by police baton-charging in a different part of Varanasi on the same day as the BHU students were arrested.
The students claim that they were protesting peacefully.
Apart from the students, members of civil society groups and activists have also been under arrest since December 19.
A total of 69 people have been arrested by Varanasi police and in many locations, they have pasted posters with faces of alleged rioters in the 'wanted' list.