Candlelight protest held against CAA, NRC, NPR

Demanding the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and withdrawal of the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), hundreds of people staged a candlelight protest here on Friday evening.

Mobilised under the banner of the Welfare Party of India (WPI), the protesters formed a human chain at Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Circle at 7.30 p.m. and staged a demonstration for an hour with candles.

Speaking at the protest, Mujahid Pasha Qureshi, State secretary of WPI, said that the CAA violated the Constitution and intended to disturb the communal harmony in the country.

“Article 14 of the Constitution says that all are equal before the law and the State shall not discriminate against anybody on the basis of religion, caste or socioeconomic status. The CAA, however, completely violates the Constitution by offering citizenship on the basis of religion. The very purpose of CAA, NPR and NRC appears to divide the people along the lines of their religion and damage the communal harmony that the Indian society had been maintaining for centuries,” he said.

Mr. Qureshi made it clear that his organisation had been opposed not to offering citizenship to the immigrants, but to offering it on the basis of religion.

“As the Union Home Minister [Amit Shah] said, CAA would first come into force and then NRC would follow. Those who cannot prove their citizenship in the NRC process would be treated as immigrants. The non-Muslim immigrants would get citizenship if they prove that they are the immigrants of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, though they don’t become natural citizens. But, the Muslims who cannot prove their citizenship in NRC would be treated as illegal immigrants and won’t get citizenship,” he said.

Ravi Gaikwad, the regional president of Dalit Panthers, said that the NRC and NPR were against not just the Muslims, but all downtrodden and marginalised sections.

“There are millions of masses living on a hand-to-mouth existence at the bottom stratum of the society who cannot simply produce the required documents to prove their citizenship in the NRC. If the NRC is implemented the majority of the indigenous people would become Stateless overnight. They will be foreigners on their own land,” he said.

The protestors read out the Preamble to the Constitution before calling off the agitation.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 2:33:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/candlelight-protest-held-against-caa-nrc-npr/article30652307.ece

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