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  India   All India  22 Dec 2019  Not just CAA, NRC, anger has been piling up

Not just CAA, NRC, anger has been piling up

THE ASIAN AGE. | VINEETA PANDEY
Published : Dec 22, 2019, 5:55 am IST
Updated : Dec 22, 2019, 5:55 am IST

Lynchings, lockdown in Kashmir, communal polarisation and economic slowdown echo in Delhi protests.

People hold placards while protesting against the CAA and NRC at Rajghat, New Delhi, on Saturday.
 People hold placards while protesting against the CAA and NRC at Rajghat, New Delhi, on Saturday.

New Delhi: “Inko hum kyun marenge, inke yahan toh hum khana khate hain. Hum toh inme bahuton ko jaante hain,” (Why would we hit them, we eat at their homes and know many of them) a policeman said while looking at the protesters who had gathered to protest against the CAA and NRC, opposite Rajghat on Saturday.

The conversation started as this correspondent asked about lathi charges on protesters across Delhi, particularly the one that took place on Friday night in Daryaganj. On Saturday, a large number of the protestors had come from Jama Masjid area and from other parts of Delhi to express anguish against alleged police action that saw several wounded and many detained and protest against CAA, NRC. There were doctors, businessmen, housewives, executives and other professionals. And the policemen deployed outside Rajghat were mainly from Daryaganj area.

 

As the conversation picked up, the policeman whispered that those involved in the lathi charge were mainly the riot police personnel, “not us.” When asked if they would lathi charge the present lot also if the need arises, one of the policemen said: “We have a good relationship with local people. We eat with them, go to their homes particularly to meet senior citizens and they treat us like families. We can manage by counselling them.”

At a distance was a police jeep with senior officials sitting in it and a bus packed with paramilitary forces jawans and riot gear.

The cops, who have been tasked with double duties since the protests broke out from December 12, have barely managed to catch a wink. “We have been sleeping 2-3 hours that too was not possible on Thursday after violence broke out in Daryaganj,” said one policeman.

 

Most of them feel that the “miscreants” who pelted stone on Friday were outsiders and that they have managed to keep tempers under control in the Walled City because of good police-people relations.

However, several protesters who had gathered outside Rajghat from different pats of the city, did not buy such arguments. They alleged that the residents had taken videos which were circulating on social media allegedly showing Delhi Police personnel hurling bricks from roof tops. A senior police official standing at the venue denied this saying: “Delhi Police is a disciplined force and they will never do so.”

As the protest entered its 10th day, protesters are now thinking of new strategies to keep the movement going and to create awareness against the demerits of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).

 

A PhD student, Umesh (name changed), said that the main issue being discussed on how to “sustain” this movement and second is how to “counter, BJP’s misinformation campaign, which was an attempt to isolate a particular community.”

“NRC and CAA has to be seen together. There should be clarity on what documents are needed. It is not about Hindu or Muslim, students or professionals, all are aggrieved and all are affected,” said Gazi, an alumni of Jamia Milia Islamia and Delhi University.

While moving around one could observe even as the CAA, NRC were the main issues, the people cutting across caste and community were also aggrieved over rising unemployment, economic slow down and “situation in Kashmir.”

 

It seemed that if contentious legislations dominated, it was also the pent up anger over joblessness and rising inflation which were being channelised through this agitation.

“The problem is not with the CAA and NRC alone. While we are concerned about the attempt to make India a “Hindu Rashtra” and attempts to polarise there are several other reasons while people are angry.

“There have been incidents of lynching, lockdown in Kashmir, and common man is upset with economic slowdown. There is discontent and people want to speak out and express anguish against the government and its policies,” said Umesh.

“We have a challenge to keep this going. We have to educate people and make them aware why these protests are important. Why CAA and NRC are bad for all of us and it is not about only Hindu and Muslims, though the target of the government at present is Muslim community. We need to have long term and short term strategies,” said a lady lawyer.

 

“We feel the government is dividing us. We have to be organized as the police keeps provoking us and instigates to react,” said Somnath (name changed), a doctor with the Uttar Pradesh government.

“Today the anger among people is very high which is why the unrest is there. If you notice there is no political leadership of this movement. It has been by the common people which is why it is intensifying. People are fed up with politicians and there is no leader who has an idea about how to take it forward. This is a leaderless movement,” said  Rajini, an MBA.

Tags: caa, nrc
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi