Ever since the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed in both houses of Parliament citizens have been protesting against the controversial act across the country. Thousands of protestors are voicing their opinion against CAA and protest were held from Kolkata and Guwahati in the east to Mumbai in the west, New Delhi in the north to Chennai and Hyderabad in the south. Students, some sections of the civil society and opposition political parties held demonstrations and appealed to the centre to revoke the act.
Sharad Pawar told Afternoon Voice, “People of India need an alternative to the BJP. The anti-BJP sentiments are on the rise in some parts of the country. It looks like non-BJP parties are coming together on some common issues. It is unreasonable if a state were to implement the NRC (National Register of Citizens) and keep people in detention centres. How many people can be placed in such detention centres and for how long?”
Protest was held by opposition parties at August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai to hold demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act passed by the BJP government. The protest was held under the leadership of Mumbai Congress President Eknath Gaikwad, NCP Mumbai President Nawab Malik, Samajwadi Party President Abu Asim Azmi, Com. Prakash Reddy, General Secretary Mumbai of CPI. Congress leader Raj Babbar. Thousands of people from different communities and NGOs too participated in the protest. Bollywood personalities including actors Farhan Akhtar, Sushant Singh, Swara Bhaskar and film makers Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Saeed Mirza were also present at the Maidan. Along with the local police, Riots Control Police (RCP), Quick Response Teams (QRT), State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) was deployed to maintain law and order. Drones and CCTVs were also deployed. On Wednesday, thousands of protestors gathered at Mumbra to take part in the anti-CAA protests. A candle light march was held in Carter Road, Bandra.
Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik said “Our party members are protesting against the law on the streets and our leaders had opposed the bill in the Parliament. Amit Shah is firing at citizens of the country in the same way General Dyer fired at the people in Jallianwala Bagh. Amit Shah is no less than Dyer. The country is not run by guns and violence. Anywhere there is a protest, be it New Delhi or Assam, guns are being drawn. This is no less than British rule. Amit Shah is becoming a worse leader.”
Nawab Malik also talked about the absence of NCP leaders in the delegation led by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi that met President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday to lodge their protest over the strict police action against students.”Yesterday’s delegation did not have any NCP leaders. This was because our party leaders were participating in a scheduled event in Nagpur. NCP is also against the new citizenship law,” he added. The delegation urged the President to intervene against the new legislation.
The Act makes it easier for non-Muslim immigrants from India’s neighbouring nations Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to become citizens of India. The Act entitles Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians facing religious persecution in the three nations to seek Indian citizenship. It highlights the exclusion of Muslims.
When AV contacted Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe on this issue he said, “When the government is not ready to listen to the voice of common people, then this rally and protest remain the only weapons to let the government know what people can do. So, this protest has been organised to send the message to the government that we are not with you in this act.”
He further continued stating, “Basically it’s a good thing for any nation that the students are aware about what is right and what is wrong and if students are holding protest on any topic then it’s always a good sign for any country.”
As per the Act, refugees of the six communities will be granted Indian citizenship after residing in India for a period of five years instead of 11 years. It aims to protect such people from the proceedings of illegal migration from neighbouring nations. Currently Indian citizenship is granted to either those born in India or if they have stayed in the country for a minimum of 11 years.
Congress spokesperson Raju Waghmare said, “Definitely this rally will have an effect because throughout India all the people are coming on the streets and they are protesting. That itself shows that there is problem, anger and dissatisfaction regarding Citizenship (Amendment Act) and this kind of rally will definitely show that people do not agree with this bill. And with the help of this protest there might be chances that the government will open their eyes and look into this bill in a different manner.”
“See, watching the students protesting, the government is resorting to firing, hitting and (lathi-charging) them. If this kind of happenings goes around the country, then how can you say that India is a democratic nation?”
The protest received overwhelming response from Mumbaikars as many of them reached Azad Maidan to hold dharna against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Mobile network services were suspended in the area. Protestors appealed to the government to revoke the Act. They termed the Act as unconstitutional. Peaceful protests have been held in IIT Bombay, TISS, University of Mumbai, Pune University, Wardha, Thane, Palghar, Nashik, Aurangabad, Beed.
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi said, “The slogan “Angrezo Bharat Chodo” was coined at the August Kranti Maidan. However, our slogan today will be “BJP Gaddi Chodo” (BJP should quit ruling the country). The BJP government is doing things which are against the Constitution of India. Citizenship cannot be based on religion but ever since the BJP has come to power, they have only touched controversial topics like Article 370, Love Jihad, Ghar Wapsi and now CAB and NRC.”
“Any country cannot progress on the basis of religion. We want to save the country from the BJP. If BJP behave badly with 25 crore Muslims, where they go? If these things keep on happening, we will go back to partition era.”