'Warriors of Constitution': Hundreds Gather at Delhi's Nizamuddin to Protest Against CAA
The protesters claim that the legislation was 'unconstitutional and divisive' as it excludes Muslims. At least 16 people have been killed in violence in Uttar Pradesh alone during anti-CAA protests since Thursday.
Protesters hold placards demanding withdrawal of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
New Delhi: Holding a placard saying "when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty", 22-year-old Khalida nervously heard the speakers at a public meeting in Delhi explain the implications of the controversial citizenship law and the proposed all-India NRC.
Khalida was among the hundreds of people who gathered at the Musafir Khana Park in Nizamuddin Basti on Sunday to hear what could be the impact of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). "We will follow the path of Mahatma Gandhi. We will never use violence, but will peacefully oppose the CAA and NRC and give reply of love with hate," the college student said.
Among those explaining the implications of the CAA was former JNU student and activist Umar Khalid, who said the most important fight right now was to save the country. "No one can scare the people of India. I salute all the people out on the streets," Khalid said. "How do we prove our loyalty to our own country? The Indian Muslims are not accidental Muslims, but are Indian Muslims by choice."
"It is the attempt of the government to distract people from economic issues. NRC and CAA is anti-Indian and we reject it," he added.
Protests broke out across the country after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was cleared by Parliament and signed by President Ram Nath Kovind into an Act.
According to the Act, people from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come to India till December 31, 2014, from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan due to religious persecution there will be given Indian citizenship.
The protesters claim that the legislation was "unconstitutional and divisive" as it excludes Muslims. At least 16 people have been killed in violence in Uttar Pradesh alone during anti-CAA protests since Thursday.
Senior advocate Sanjay Hedge told the people that "all of us fighting this battle (against the legislation) are warriors of the Constitution". "Our Constitution is alive till we are here to fight for it. We have not written this Constitution under normal circumstances. It was written after a lot of thought," Hedge said.
Amid heavy police deployment who stood outside the location of the meeting, Hedge said "we oppose this legislation not as a Hindu or Muslim but as an Indian".
Khalid Saifi, another senior advocate, said peaceful demonstration had become the most dangerous thing in this country in the past few days. "We have freedom of speech. That is our strongest right and that very thing has become difficult in this country," he said.
Rahul Roy, one of the organisers of the Not In My Name campaign, said, it was a question of citizenship. "Our Constitution said that citizenship will not be linked with religion. There is no question of linking it now," Roy said.
"People who do not deserve Indian citizenship are the ones who have been spreading venom in this country for the past 200 years," he said as slogans of 'Hindustan Zindabad', and 'NRC and CAA se azaadi (freedom)' rent the air.
Waving the national flag, scores of people held placards carrying couplets and catchy messages like 'bure din wapis de do (give back bad days)', 'Rebel with a cause - reject CAA' and 'Digital India without Internet - Shame'.
Shabnam said this is the "fight for our existence" and this is the fight for not only the survival of the Muslims, but also other religions. "We can prove our citizenship, but what about our poor brothers and sisters who have no documents but are as Indian than anyone else in our country?" she asked.
When an eight-year-old Satish was asked why he was there he said he was here to save the country. "I want to protect my country," he said, holding a placard of 'Reject NRC and CAA'.
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