Denied permission, anti-CAA rally called off

Protesters allege Mumbai Police refused to give go-ahead at last minute, invoked Section 149 of CrPc to deter them

January 04, 2020 12:55 am | Updated 12:55 am IST - Mumbai

Not giving up:  Protesters shout slogans against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shivaji Park in Dadar on Friday as the police did not allow them to protest at Chaityabhoomi.

Not giving up: Protesters shout slogans against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shivaji Park in Dadar on Friday as the police did not allow them to protest at Chaityabhoomi.

A rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) at Chaityabhoomi was called off after the city police denied permission on Friday.

Organised jointly by NGOs such as LABIA, a queer collective, and Forum Against Oppression, the rally aimed to unite marginalised communities who would face the brunt of the CAA, NRC and NPR. An Instagram post by artist Priyanka Paul, who was part of the protest, said permission was “denied at the last minute” by the Mumbai Police. She said, “The police have been systematically denying permission for rightful, democratic, peaceful protests by citizen groups. This is a direct attack at suppressing voices.”

‘Religious place’

The protesters alleged that Section 149 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) was invoked to deter them from holding the rally. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone V) Niyati Thaker said, “The only reason we did not let them protest at Chaityabhoomi is because it is a religious place and we never allow protests there. They then decided to shift to Shivaji Park. A notice under Section 149 was issued only to make them aware that any violation of law by them would result in legal action.”

The Joint Action Committee, which organised protests at August Kranti Maidan and Azad Maidan recently, had also accused the Mumbai Police and Commissioner of Police Sanjay Barve of sabotaging their rallies.

Later, about 300 people gathered at Shivaji Park to pay homage to social reformer Savitribai Phule on her birth anniversary and celebrate her friendship with fellow educator Fatima Sheikh.

‘Law creating confusion’

Arielle Noronha, a transwoman, said, “My identity is different from what I was assigned at birth. That we are asked to present documents is discriminatory. We thought Aadhaar cards and passports were sufficient to prove we are a part of this great nation, but now everything is confusing.”

Shweta Vaidya, another transwoman, said, “There is already much confusion regarding our existence. People need to understand that many transpeople have been abandoned by their parents and it is impossible to understand the intricacies of what the Centre wants us to do.”

Bandhuraj Lone, a former journalist and petitioner in the judge B.H. Loya death case, said, “The CAA, NRC and NPR are divisive in nature. They also divide the Hindu community. If I am asked to produce my mother’s documents, I don’t think I can. The Act displays the mindset today where authorities want to establish Brahmin supremacy. The CAA is unconstitutional in itself.”

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