Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Jawaharlal Nehru University ex-students Umar Khalid and Kanhaiya Kumar have exhorted the people to stand up for the Constitution, as “efforts are being made by the BJP to change the salient features of the Indian Constitution.
The two, along with prominent journalist Aarefa Khanum Sherwani and Gorakhpur doctor Kafil Khan, were addressing an event in Jamia Nagar here, styled as Celebration of the Constitution. The event marked the 70th anniversary of introduction of the Indian Constitution.
Kanhaiya Kumar, who unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha elections, said that the people who were claiming to be the guardians of the Constitution have failed it — by not standing up for it and not implementing it properly. “We cannot expect of the BJP to protect the Constitution, but the Opposition parties also did not make enough efforts to stand up for it,” he said.
He said there should be unity among secular parties on the minimum programmes for the people — and that minimum programme should be based on tents of the Constitution. “The real problem arises when there is difference over which party or leader should take the lead.” He predicted that the Congress-NCP-Sena alliance in Maharashtra may meet the same fate of the Congress-JDS alliance in Karnataka, as the vice of horse-trading continued to harm Indian democracy.
Umar Khalid, associated with the United Against Hate, launched a scathing attack on the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Remembering late Maharashtra ATS chief Hemanth Karkar, who was martyred in the 26/11 Taj hotel terror attack, Khalid questioned the inclusion of Malegaon terror accused Sadhvi Pragya in the defence ministry panel by the Narendra Modi government. He criticised Pragya for claiming that Karkare died due to a curse that befell on him.
“The most unconstitutional thing this government wants to do is to bring in the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill which has a provision to grant citizenship to refugees belonging to all communities except Muslims. This is the height of discrimination,” Khalid said.
He called upon the people to boycott the nationwide implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). “Half of the citizens of the country will fail to gather their decades-old-documents relating to residential status, because they were mostly lost due to floods and other calamities. The poor and the downtrodden people will be the main victims of the nationwide NRC. Hence, the NRC is fraught with danger,” he said.
Arfa Khanum, associated with the news portal The Wire said, ”We used to hear at times that ‘Islam is in danger’ and at times ‘Hinduism is in danger’ and at times some others are in danger. But the real danger that looms over all of us is the threat to the Constitution. If the Constitution remains safe, every religious book including the Bhagwad Geeta, the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible will remain safe. For, it is the Constitution which gives the right to practise the teachings in these books.”
She also urged the people to grant women their rights, saying this was guaranteed under the Constitution. Muslims are regressing in matters of women rights, she said, also noting that there are very few women in the present meeting.