New Delhi: Nationwide protests are due to be held on Thursday by different groups and various political parties to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens (NRC), and to express solidarity with Jamia Millia Islamia and AMU students who faced police brutality in New Delhi on Sunday.
In New Delhi alone three protest-cum-solidarity marches will take place. Protests are going to be held in Bhubaneswar (at 10am and 7pm), Hyderabad (10.30am), Bengaluru (11am), Kolkata (12pm), Bhopal (2pm), Lucknow (2pm), Nagpur (2pm), Chennai (3pm), Mumbai (4pm), and Pune (4.30pm).
Actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted a poster that gave details of why the CAA and NRC had to be removed, and adding: “See you on the 19th at August Kranti Maidan, Mumbai... The time to protest on social media alone is over.”
In New Delhi, the Left parties have planned a big protest from Mandi House at 12 noon with a public meeting followed by a procession at Shaheed Park. All major leaders of the Left parties will participate; while another protest march will begin from Red Fort and end at Shaheed Park at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. Besides, a third protest-cum-solidarity march will take place at Jamia Nagar at around 11.30 am.
“The students of Jamia braved and stood up in the most adverse situations. We can at least stand in solidarity and send a strong message. We will form a human chain in front of the residents of Jamia Nagar and the students of Jamia when they perform the post-noon namaz at 1 pm. The message must go out that ‘We, The People of India’ stand as one with our brothers and sisters,” said one call for the solidarity march at Jamia. This group will end the meeting by reading out loud the Preamble to the Indian Constitution.
Besides the Left parties, organisations like Gandhi Peace Foundation, Khudai Khudmadgar, NAPM — Medha Patkar, ICLU, IYC, SFI, DU, AISA, other collectives and student unions are also expected to join the protest.
The marches from Red Fort and Mandi House will merge at Shaheed Park, and the Jamia group too will join them.
“The attacks on youth, specially at a time when there are no jobs and there is a severe economic slowdown, shows that the government is trying to drag back the country. Tomorrow we request you all to come and participate in the protest demonstration. And this would merge with other demonstrations to put pressure on the government to roll back the CAA and NRC,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
The situation in certain parts of New Delhi are tense, but under control. On Wednesday, the police held a flag march at Seelampur, while high vigil is on at Jamia.
Meanwhile, asserting that “secularism and tolerance is in the DNA of the majority community in India”, minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said there was a misinformation campaign going on against the CAA. He added there was no threat to the citizenship of any Indian Muslim or any other citizen.
“The Citizenship Act is to provide citizenship and not to take away the citizenship of any person. The minorities in India are an equal partner in the development process. We have to defeat this conspiracy to create confusion by people who are mixing the Citizenship Act and NRC,” said Mr Naqvi.
Addressing a “Minorities Day” event organised by the National Commission for Minorities, Mr Naqvi said that “those who are trying to hijack peace through rumours and mala fide misinformation should understand their conspiracy will fail. Satyamev Jayte will defeat political propaganda of Jhuthmev Jayte.”
Without naming any party, the Union minister said those defeated by the prajatantra (democracy) are trying to disturb the atmosphere of harmony and trust in the country through gundatantra (anarchy). We have to defeat such elements through the strength of democracy and harmony,” Mr Naqvi said.