31, Dec 2019 | Staff Reporter
(Joint action: (From left) Medha Patkar, Ganesh Devy, Yogendra Yadav and Kavita Krishnan at a meeting against CAA and NRC in Mumbai on Monday. | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini)
Nearly 100 organisations from across the country have decided to fight the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Population Register and the National Register of Citizens under one banner – We the People of India.
“We are appealing to all the people protesting against the CAA, NPR and nationwide NRC to come under a single banner – We The People of India. This is the first phrase of our Constitution and there can’t be anything bigger than that,” said Yogendra Yadav, founder of Swaraj Abhiyan party.
The groups will be having a series of nationwide protests and demonstrations in January on significant days that mark the birth or death anniversaries of notable people. The series of protests will start from January 3, which is the birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule.
The groups will also be protesting on January 8, when farmers’ groups and left-backed trade unions have also called for a Bharat Bandh. The next set of demonstrations will be held on January 12, which is the national youth day and the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand. “On January 17, which is the day when Rohit Vemula was killed by this administration, we will celebrate social justice day. On January 14 and 15 is Sankranti, when we assimilate all people of all cultures together. On January 26, we will raise our flag at midnight and on January 30, which is the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we will form a human chain across the country,” Mr. Yadav said.
Noted activist Harsh Mander said that in Assam, the NRC process was not communal and everyone had to participate in the process, adding that the national NRC is even more dangerous due to the NPR, which will allow government officials to pick and choose “doubtful” citizens.
“It’s a project that’s so large and so unimplementable. The ultimate objective of a CAA and NPR and NRC is to throw our Muslim brothers and sisters into a vortex of uncertainty for years and years. Your life comes to a halt and all you can think about is where can I get that document,” he said.
Noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad said that the country had rejected the government’s plan to decide citizenship on the lines of religion.
“This is a really historic moment. I haven’t seen the kind of citizen participation since the Emergency,” she said.
Senior human rights lawyer Mihir Desai said that the NPR can only be done under the NRC. “Otherwise you do a census, under the Census Act,” he said. Student activist Umer Khalid said that they will also be pressuring the state governments to bring formal and legal resolution of some sort against the NPR and NRC and they were going to give a call to boycott NPR when the process starts. “The undocumented in the country are worst affected. They understand the intensity of the suffering that they are going to face due to this,” Noted linguist and activist Ganesh Devy said.