In Biggest Anti-CAA Rally in Bengaluru, Thousands Protest Against 'Discriminatory' Legislation; Curfew Lifted in Mangaluru
Protesters hold placards demanding withdrawal of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
Bengaluru: Nearly half a lakh people came together at the Quddus Saheb Eidgah Maidan on Millers Road in Bengaluru in what was the biggest protest against the Citizenship Act.
Road traffic was badly hit at several parts of the city. Elaborate security arrangements had been made to avert any untoward incident, which by-and-large remained peaceful till the afternoon, police said.
Waving the national flag and holding placards, the protestors raised slogans demanding the withdrawal of the NRC and CAA as they marched through city roads. The rally had been called by around 35 organizations under the banner of Joint Action Committee of Bengaluru.
The gathering saw thousands of Muslims turning up with the tricolour which they raised along with chants of 'Hindu-Muslim bhai-bhai'. "This is a country where if you travel just 100 km you will find a new language. But there is only one constitution in this country," community leader Maulana Zulfikar Noor said in his address.
Activist Harsh Mander, who was visiting Bengaluru to participate in the protest, said that the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam had affected the poor.
"Many Indians do not know their birthdays. Where will they get their documents? The Prime Minister says, recognise protestors by their clothes. But what religion you profess, what God you worship is left to you. This country is not based on any one religion. Our ancestors had a choice to choose between India and Pakistan. they chose India. You too are Indian by choice, we Hindus are also Indian by choice," Mander told a charged audience.
Two Sabarimala devotees, Shiva and Vijay who are residents of Bengaluru's Shivajinagar, also expressed their solidarity. "As an Indian I have come to support my brothers who have supported us in all part of my life...It's not politics, it's not selfish, it's not anything. It's humanity," said Shiva.
Others talked about the sense of insecurity that has gripped the Muslim community despite the Prime Minister's many reassurances. "If the BJP believes in 'Sab ka vikas', you cannot keep aside Muslims. What will people do if we can't give my forefather's documents? Several in our community is illiterate. Where will we go for that," asked Nazeer, a businessman.
Meanwhile, a report from Mangaluru, which was rocked by violent protests over the CAA last week leaving two people dead in police firing, said the city remained largely peaceful after curfew was lifted Monday morning.
City police commissioner P S Harsha requested public to share videos or photos regarding the violence in the city on December 19 for further investigation. In a tweet he said, "I appeal to public who have any photo or video content regarding riots that happened in Mangaluru city on 19th Dec to mail it to email@example.com or send a WhatsApp message on
9480802327. It would help the investigation team in upholding the truth, he said.
Police said the prohibitory orders will continue to be in force in the city till Monday midnight.
(With PTI inputs)