WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation.

The foundation of India lays in these words. The idea behind our nation is entrenched in the start of the Constitution - the Preamble. The reality however, is a whole lot different.

The videos and images we've been seeing in the past few days have been truly terrifying. Prestigious educational institutions have turned into war zones, seemingly peaceful protesters have been lathi charged, and cities have come to a standstill.

Source: Thenewsminute

The events of the last few days begs the question - Do the powers that be consider protesting a crime? The right to freedom of speech and expression clearly allows us to question and criticise the government.

But the reality of the matter is far from what our forefathers had in mind. There's been a shameful violation of human rights all across the country, and it's making people lose hope in our democratic status.

Source: Indianexpress

Just look at what happened in Jamia Milia Islamia in Delhi. Over 100 police personnel allegedly forced their way into the university and beat up students, fired tear gas, and also shot real bullets.

One student who suffered injuries told News18,

We were inside the university when the police barged in. Around 20 policemen came from gate no 7 and 50 others came from the rear gate. We told them we were not involved in the violence. They didn't listen. They didn't even spare women.

It's a horrific situation, and extremely hard to watch. These are young students, many of whom were apparently not even involved in the protests. And they're being treated like a terrorist group.

The violence erupted after protests resulted in the burning of a bus. Students claim the cops started it, but the police say it was done by the protesters.

Source: Ndtv

The violence wasn't just confined to Jamia however. Over 100 Aligarh Muslim University students were injured by police during a solidarity march to express sympathy with the Jamia students.

AMU was also witness to instances of police brutality and extreme violence. Protesters' legs were broken, and the cops allegedly didn't allow the injured to receive medical care. There were also videos showing the police smashing bikes on the streets in Aligarh and firing tear gas shells from the main gate of the campus.

This is honestly shameful behaviour by our so-called 'protectors'. They've been using unnecessary and extreme force on people protesting something that affects the entire country. It's as if they've been given free rein to terrorise anyone who opposes the government.

One of the most shocking instances of this is in the video below. A man who was simply trying to keep the peace and calm protesters is dragged out of the house and brutally beaten with sticks. Warning, graphic content below.

The protests in Assam have also been devastating. 4 people have been killed in police firing, and protesters have allegedly been using guns against the police.

Over 1400 people have been detained and several police vehicles have also been set on fire in Assam. While riot police usually use rubber bullets, they are now using real bullets against the crowds.

Source: Ndtv

There are now protests in almost every part of the nation. In response, major means of public transportation have been blocked, and there have been internet shutdowns in several cities.

Source: Thehindu

It's hard to look around and see just how terrible the current situation is, but we have to remember that protest is legally protected in a democratic country. We're supposed to have infrastructure in place to allow for critical movements. Indiscriminate violence, beating students, and quelling any dissent is not how a democracy treats its people, it's how an empire treats its subjects.