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  India   All India  02 Jan 2020  Anti-CAA protesters vow to ‘defend Constitution’

Anti-CAA protesters vow to ‘defend Constitution’

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Jan 2, 2020, 12:56 am IST
Updated : Jan 2, 2020, 12:56 am IST

The anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests also took place in Chandigarh, Chennai and Bengaluru.

People hold placards during a protest against the CAA and NRC on New Year’s Eve at Shaheen Bagh, near Jamia Millia, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)
 People hold placards during a protest against the CAA and NRC on New Year’s Eve at Shaheen Bagh, near Jamia Millia, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: With a new zeal in the New Year, hundreds of protesters gathered at India Gate here on Wednesday and took a pledge to “defend the Constitution”, while at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, near Jamia Milia Islamia, several skipped yearend parties to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests also took place in Chandigarh, Chennai and Bengaluru.

 

With several universities all set to open after the winter break, the authorities are working out strategies to deal with protests there. Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has extended its winter break to keep its students away from the campus for some more time.

Meanwhile, in a rather weird move, the IIT Kanpur administration has set up a panel to check if the popular poem by Pakistani writer Faiz Ah-mad Faiz “Hum dekhenge lazim hai ki hum bhi dekhenge”, which was recited by IIT students during the anti-CAA protests, is “anti-Hindu”.

Faiz’s poem “Hum dekhenge” was banned by Pakistani military dictator Gen. Zia-ul Haq but it caught the public imagination when it was read publicly by Pakistani ghazal singer Iqbal Bano as an expression of defiance and protest against Gen. Zia’s oppressive regime. Gen. Zia had also banned Pakistani women from wearing saris, but Bano wore a black sari and sang this song in Lahore before a crowd of 50,000 people.

 

At Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, near Jamia Milia Islamia, where a unique all-woman anti-CAA protest is going on since December 15, several students, artists, professionals, businessmen and even politicians joined in
and sang the national anthem. At India Gate, the crowd raised slogans like “kagaz nahin dikhayenge” and “tanashahi nahin chalegi”.

While top BJP leaders, including home minister Amit Shah, went into a huddle a to decide the future course of action on the CAA-NRC protests, the Centre remained unaffected and blamed political parties for fanning the protests. Union minister Prakash Javadekar blamed the Congress and AAP for spearheading the violence during the anti-CAA protests in New Delhi last month.

 

“Now the people of the national capital and the country have understood their politics. Hence, there is peace in Delhi. Everyone has understood the CAA is not against any religion. No matter how much the Congress and the AAP try, we will not let them spoil the atmosphere of Delhi,” Mr Javadekar said.

In a sharp and swift response, Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia blamed the BJP for the violence. “The people of the country and Delhi know who is master in instigating riots,” Mr Sisodia said, adding that “people know the true colours of the BJP”. He added that all investigative agencies are under the Centre, and they are free to conduct inquiries and put leaders behind bars.

 

In Uttar Pradesh, the state government blamed the Popular Front of India (PFI) for the violent anti-CAA protests. “The PFI is misleading the Muslim youths and spreading Islamic extremism in the country. The PFI is a front for the banned group Simi,” said UP minister Mohsin Raza. The UP police claimed 25 people linked to the PFI have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the violent anti-CAA protests.

A day after the Kerala Assembly passed a resolution against the CAA, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state Assemblies have their own privileges. “State Assemblies have privileges. Such actions are unheard of anywhere. But we cannot rule out anything in the present circumstance as unprecedented things are happening nowadays in the country,” Mr Vijayan said.

 

His statement came in response to Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s comments, where he urged Mr Vijayan to seek “better legal advice”. Mr Prasad said it is “only Parliament which has the power to pass any law (on) citizenship; not any Assembly, including the Kerala Assembly”.

While the chief ministers of many non-BJP-ruled states like Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal have announced that they will not implement CAA, CPI(M)-ruled Kerala was the first to take the legislature route to register its opposition. In West Bengal, the BJP is planning to launch a campaign to counter the Trimaul Congress’ “misinformation programmes” regarding the CAA and reach out to refugees.

 

Apart from launching a statewide campaign against the new legislation, Ms Banerjee participated in six protest marches and three rallies in various parts of the state. In contrast, the BJP had organised only one mega march in the city, led by its working president J.P. Nadda, and rallies by its state chief to counter the anti-CAA protests led by the chief minister.

Tags: citizenship amendment act, national register of citizens