31, Jan 2020 | SHOUMOJIT BANERJEE
Two major public meetings involving politicians and noted civil society activists protesting the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) were held in the city on Thursday evening under the shadow of heavy police deployment and protests from right wing outfits.
The police had sent notices under Section 149 [police to prevent cognisable offences] of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to organisers of an anti-CAA meeting held at Kothrud’s Gandhi Bhavan on Martyr’s Day, which witnessed the participation of activist Teesta Setalvad, actress Urmila Matondkar and Bishop Thomas Dabre and was chaired by activist Dr. Kumar Saptarshi.
Calling CAA as a piece of “black legislation”, Ms. Matondkar said that the only way out of the pervasive instability in the country caused by the Modi government’s steamrolling of the CAA and the proposed implementation of the NRC was to take refuge in the ideals of peace and unity laid down by Mahatma Gandhi.
“It is all the more important to remember Gandhiji’s principles today in the midst of this chaos. It is not the Parliament or politicians who are the only representatives of this country, but the people…the CAA is not merely anti-Muslim, but anti-poor as well. Remember, Gandhiji was killed by a Hindu [Nathuram Godse],” she said, comparing the CAA with the draconian Rowlatt Act of 1919.
Ms. Setalvad said the only intention of the Modi government behind passing this contentious piece of legislation was to create instability in the country.
“Had Mahatma Gandhi been alive today, he would have fought tooth-and-nail against the socially divisive policies of the Modi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Saptarshi said that this was not merely a fight of the minority community, but that of the whole country and one which should be fought in a spirit of amity.
Earlier, members of the fringe rightwing Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had threatened to disrupt proceedings, prompting heavy police deployment at the venue.
Likewise, a robust security shield was in place for the second anti-CAA-NRC public meet at Sarasbaug which was addressed by NCP leader and Minister Jitendra Awhad and saw the participation of Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and Congress MLA and Minister Vishwajeet Kadam, among others.
“The CAA and NRC is an attack on the Constitution. Do not let the country be taken over by the forces of fascism represented by the Modi-Shah government. If anyone comes at your doors demanding your papers and proof of citizenship, answer them by brandishing a copy of the Constitution,” said Mr. Awhad, addressing the packed audience.
The original report may be read here.