Waving the national flag and holding posters and placards denouncing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register for Citizens (NRC), hundreds of youngsters, including college students, social activists, actors and filmmakers, took to the streets of Kochi on Monday.
Two separate rallies were taken out in the city, a People’s Long March from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kaloor, and another one from the Gandhi Square, near Rajendra Maidan.
Shouting slogans against the Central Government, saying it is controlled by the RSS, the protesters said they would resist any attempt to divide the country along communal lines. They chanted Lal Salam Neel Salam, Insha Allah and Inquilab Zindabad together and also the Azadi slogans.
They also raised slogans to uphold the Constitution. Activists, including Rekha Raj, addressed the participants at the gate of the Cochin Shipyard. V.T. Balram, MLA, writer K.R. Meera and social activist Jolly Chirayath were among those who were present.
Social activists from different parts of the city converged at the Stadium ground from where the first rally began. As the rally reached Jose Junction, the one led by filmmakers and celebrities reached the Durbar Hall Ground.
Writer N.S. Madhavan led the protest meeting at Rajendra Maidan where he read out the preamble of the Constitution. The protesters followed him.
The protesters, including actors Rima Kallingal, Rejisha Vijayan and Shane Nigam, pledged their support for the protests led by students and youth at different centres in the country. Poet Anvar Ali read a poem.
Singer Shahabas Aman; social activists C.R. Neelakandan and M.N. Pierson; writer P.F. Mathews; filmmaker Kamal, Ashiq Abu, Rajeev Ravi and Lijo Jose Pellisseri; actor Prakash Bara; and CPIM(M) leader K.J. Jacob, attended.
The march concluded at Gama Square, Fort Kochi.
Cardinal George Alenchery said the provisions of the recently enacted Citizenship (Amendment) Act were unclear. The case related to the legislation was pending before the Supreme Court and its outcome would be important for the people and the Government, he told media persons.
The Cardinal hoped that the Centre might review the legislation, or have a rethinking on its implementation or even modifications to the Act through another legislation. No issue should be communalised and should not lead to any conflict between religions and States. As discussions and protests were taking place on the legislation, one should wait for the government’s next move, he said.