The protest march styled as ‘Sansad Gherao’ (Parliament siege) demanded repeal of CAA, NPR and NRC; and the participants resolved to continue their struggle till the government took back the anti-constitutional provisions in the new law
Abdul Bari Masoud | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – A day before curtains fall on the Budget Session of Parliament, thousands of people including women marched on Parliament Street and converged at Jantar Mantar on Monday, registering their anguish and protest against the black laws like NRC/CAA/NPR and demanding of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government to revoke them.
The Welfare Party of India and the United Against Hate jointly organised the protest march from Mandi House to Parliament Street along with representatives of several families that were at the receiving end of the police excesses in UP and Delhi. The march culminated in a rally at Jantar Mantar, close to the Parliament House.
The protest march styled as ‘Sansad Gherao’ (Parliament siege) demanded repeal of CAA, NPR and NRC; and the participants resolved to continue their struggle till the government took back the anti-constitutional provisions in the new law. Protesters loudly announced that they would not be cowed down by the repressive measures and tactics adopted by the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in the states.
Attacking the BJP-led government at the Centre, Welfare Party president Dr SQ R Ilyas said this protest wasn’t just about the CAA or NRC, but an attempt “to defeat the forces of fascism which have spread its tentacles across the country.” It was strange that a government tried to snatch away the citizenship right of its own people. “This government cannot be trusted,” he said while referring to home minister Amit Shah’s announcement that there was no decision so far on the rolling out of the NRC.
LESSON FROM ASSAM
Warning about the dire consequences of NPR and NRC, he said the government should take a lesson or two from the Assam NRC experience. He said Assam NRC has exposed the bogey of Bangladeshi Muslim infiltration. “This is a second struggle for freedom from the fascist forces,” he said.
Ilyas explained the ill-effects of the black laws and called them anti-constitutional, divisive and discriminatory in nature. The protests should not end until the basic needs of the people are met, he said.
He expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court stand vis-à-vis the protests and said there were those who failed the Constitution despite being projected as the guardians of it. “The credit for the protests goes to the women and students.”
SECOND FREEDOM STRUGGLE
Indian Union Muslim League member of Parliament ET Mohd Basheer termed the ongoing anti-CAA protests as the second biggest struggle of the people of India, the first being the Independence movement. He said each and every step taken by this government defied the Constitution; and, stunningly, “they (BJP- RSS) are not bothered about it.” While slamming the judiciary, he said reservation or affirmative action is the basic principle for social justice. He asked Dalits to join the movement as this government was “anti-poor and anti-people.”
Activist Ravi Nair said these protests are rightly termed as the second freedom struggle. This was again a time for the people to liberate the country from criminals who have occupied the centre-stage; and this required of people to make sacrifices, including a readiness to go to jail.
Subramani Arumugam, president of Federation of Indian Trade Unions’ Save Constitution Save Citizenship Forum, said Narendra Modi and Amit Shah lied to the people and the fight was, in sum, against the RSS ideology.
Sheema Mohsin, national general secretary of WPI, said revolutions across the world showed us that they not only changed the governments but also helped in re-building nations in better ways. She congratulated the people present at the rally as being the pioneers and the ones writing a new chapter in the history of India.
NO HINDU-MUSLIM FIGHT THIS
Another speaker, Prof Lakshman Yadav, said the BJP and the RSS were trying to project the anti-CAA movement as a Hindu versus Muslim fight, but it was in reality a fight between Manusmriti and the Constitution. “The ongoing movement is for protection of the Constitution and the country, and to thwart the RSS plan of implementing its fascist agenda.”
Indian National League President Prof Mohammad Salman said the Yogi Adityanath government in UP had unleashed a reign of terror but the anti-CAA protesters were not afraid of such offensives. “We are making efforts to launch a state-wise protest in UP to dislodge the Yogi government from power,” he said.
Student leader Dr. Umar Khalid attacked the Modi government for its apathy towards the protesters whose families lost their dear ones due to police bullets. “People say nothing has been achieved by this protest, but I would say that people have come out from a state of fear.” He said the Delhi Assembly elections would prove that the people of the capital city stood with the Shaheen Bagh protesters. He congratulated the women in the forefront of the protests and said a time has come to expose the “pretentions of our leaders.” Every citizen has a space and Identity in this nation and everyone has the right and liberty to live in dignity.
Among the others who spoke were Razack Paleri, Supreme Court advocate Vijendra Kasana, Ansar Abubakr who is national president of the Fraternity Movement of India, Prof Lakshman Yadav of Delhi University , Tahir Hussain from Karnataka, Ex DGP Pritviraj Singh, Mohd Saif from Rajasthan, Prof Apoorvanand of Delhi University, Mujtaba Farooq as former President of WPI, Zafrul Islam Khan as chairman of the Minorities Commission, and Hameed Faraan as national vice president of WPI.
VICTIMS OF POLICE BRUTALITY
Family members of the many victims of police brutality during the course of the anti-CAA protests narrated their ordeal over the past month. Najma Bano was sobbing while speaking about the killing of her 23-year-old son Mohammad Rais. She said police had brutally killed her son. Apart from those of Sharjeel Imam and Dr. Kafeel Khan, Aamir Hanzala’s family members also spoke. Leaders, students and activists also addressed the rally.
The march route reverberated with slogans like “Inquilab Zindabad” to “CAA down, down”. The protesters were also waving the Indian flag high up, en route to the rally site.