New Delhi: Hundreds of students marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar on Monday to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register for Citizens.
Students, belonging to different universities, raised slogans demanding "azaadi" from the new citizenship law and carried posters which read ‘We stand united against CAA', 'Agar tum decent hote toh dissent ko samajhte' (If you were decent, you would have understood dissent), 'Secularism up, Communalism down’.
They marched through the Lutyens area in the National Capital escorted by police while raising slogans. The students also lauded protesters at Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islamia, who have been on a sit-in against the CAA for a month.
Delhi: Protest march being held by All India Students Association (AISA) and other organisations against #CAA, NRC & NPR, at Mandi House. Former JNU student and activist Umar Khalid also present. pic.twitter.com/PYqIPROHGQ
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
The march led by the Young India Coordination Committee was joined by several student organisations and coordination committee of Jamia and Shaheen Bagh.
Dinesh Kumar, research scholar at Ambedkar University, said, "The Centre is being selective on which minority communities they will be giving citizenship to. Why is there a selective approach? Why is citizenship linked to religion here? What about atheists?"
Citing economic crisis, Anushree Joshi, a student of Lady Shri Ram College said the Centre does not have resources for their own citizens and with implementation of CAA, how will the government provide resources to them with such economic slowdown?
"Besides, the very basis of allotment of citizenship is religion which goes against the secular fabric of our country," she said.
Former Jawaharlal Nehru Students' Union president N Sai Balaji led the march along with former JNU student Umar Khalid and student leader Kawalpreet Kaur.
"We urge the Supreme Court to scrap the unconstitutional CAA. We are protesting to save the Constitution," Balaji said.
Miraj, a member of Shaheen Bagh Coordination Committee said the women at their protesting site have set an example for the rest of the country by sitting peacefully for the last 35 days to protect the Constitution.
"When Delhi was shivering under extreme cold, the grandmothers at Shaheen Bagh were out on the streets to save the Constitution. The protest that was triggered due to violence at Jamia has now set an example for the entire nation and there is a Shaheen Bagh springing up at every other place," he said.
Shahdosh Aalam, a member of the Jamia Coordination Committee said they will not step down unless the Centre rolls back CAA and challenged Home Minster Amit Shah to visit Shaheen Bagh, speak to students of Jamia and address the protesting students and public.
"I was witness to the police brutality that was unleashed at Jamia Millia Islamia. We were lathicharged and attacked. I challenge the government. They may call the police or use tear gas but none of these can stop our sentiments against CAA. The nationwide protests show that the Centre is wrong and their intensions are wrong," he said.
While anti-government slogans were being raised opposing the implementation of CAA and NRC, another protestor, who did not wished to be named, said "Young India will save this Constitution from the BJP, RSS and from communalism.
"Government cannot force us to show our documents. We will not show them nor will we allow them to divide people on the basis of religion."
Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI (ML-Liberation) general secretary said the entire nation is now fighting its second freedom struggle.
The government thought they could suppress voices by attacking universities like JNU, Jamia and Aligarh but they fought back and now anti-CAA slogans were being raised by people even during cricket matches, he said.
"This law has been brought to divide people based on their religion and if we allow them to do this, tomorrow it will lead to caste discrimination," he said.
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Updated Date: Jan 20, 2020 19:06:02 IST