Azad Maidan hosts massive anti-CAA rally

Huge turnout: Thousands of people attend the rally at Azad Maidan on Saturday.

Huge turnout: Thousands of people attend the rally at Azad Maidan on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Activists call upon government to pass resolution against citizenship law in upcoming budget session

Thousands of people, including a large number of women from Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, flocked to Azad Maidan on Saturday to participate in the Maha Morcha against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Organised by the Maharashtra chapter of the National Alliance Against CAA, NRC and NPR, the protest went off peacefully under tight bandobast by the Mumbai Police. Personnel were deployed on the ground and up to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). The ground was packed with protesters, forcing people to stand on the adjoining road. Volunteers positioned themselves at CSMT to guide people to the protest venue.

‘Don’t implement NPR’

Student leader Dr. Shahreyar Ansari said, “We raise our voice from the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj against these dark laws. We want the government to pass a resolution against the CAA in the Assembly session and not allow NPR to be implemented in the State.”

Conveners of the protest, Justice (retired) Kolse Patil, social activist Teesta Setalvad, actor Sushant Singh, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi and activist Rakesh Rathod, were present at the protest. Mr. Azmi spoke in support of the women protesting at Saheen Bagh in Delhi and Morland Road in Mumbai Central, known as Mumbai Bagh. Mr. Azmi said, “At the time of Partition, we had the choice to go to Pakistan, but we decided to follow Mahatma Gandhi and not Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Now, the Bharatiya Janata Party government wants to give Indian citizenship to the people who stayed back in Pakistan for all these years.”

Mr. Rathod touched upon the injustice faced by the backward classes in the country. He said, “The Modi government takes advantage of the fact that we keep ourselves involved in classism and religious discrimination. But today, leaders from all religions are standing together. When the Constitution preaches equality, how can they discriminate on the basis of religion? You promised ‘Make in India’. When did you start selling India?”

Mr. Singh said when he was shooting for the movie The Legend of Bhagat Singh, he hadn’t thought that he would get to see a real revolution. “You all have fulfilled that dream and I thank you for this,” he said.

Waving the Tricolour and holding banners denouncing the three laws, protesters raised slogans like “Modi, Shah se Azadi”. Fareha Rizvi (48), who came to the protest with her 18-year-old daughter, said, “I grew up in a friendly neighbourhood where people from all religions lived in harmony. I’m worried about the kind of environment I’ll be leaving behind for my daughter. Every community thinks about progress, but we are becoming regressive by the day. It becomes a problem even if women show courage.”

Her daughter Manaal Sadiq emphasised the need for love and unity. She said, “We should spread love and unity, be it in school or any place. Every religion and every family has a distinct set of principles and beliefs and we should respect them. Such laws do not give us the liberty to do so.”

Advocate Farhana Shah spoke about how it was hurtful to see a government elected by the citizens withdrawing their fundamental rights. Ms. Shah said, “The case is pending before the Supreme Court and it is their call now. The people fear that if they don’t take a stand now, then no one else will. The government can’t neglect the betterment of the people after coming to power. They thought Hindus will support them in promoting religious discrimination. Instead, everyone, including students, is opposing them.”

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 5:06:23 PM |

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