Protesters come out in large numbers to express dissent over the CAA on the 14th of December amidst heavy police barricading and fears of violence.
A day after the protests against the unconstitutional nature of CAB turned excessively violent in Jamia Millia Islamia, a similar protest was scheduled to begin opposite Jantar Mantar at 3 PM. The presence of heavy police barricading, riot control police and other riot control measures at the site of the protest did little to dissuade these fears. The protest was eventually non-violent with the police nor resorting to brutality. Irtiza, one of the organisers of the protest believes that protesting against the fascist nature of the government is necessary now more than ever, before its too late. He says “ The fight against CAB and NRC is the fight for a united India and the Indian constitution. If this country has to survive then both these processes have to be stopped. If we don’t come out today and say that CAB and NRC are #NotInMyName. There may not be a tomorrow. It has to be now or never!”
The CAA proposes to offer Indian Citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Muslims have been excluded. It is the Government’s argument that minorities of these three countries face persecution on the basis of religion. The protesters argue that this act is unconstitutional to the core, considering that India is a secular country. Protesters point to the very islamophobic and communal nature of the act which would lead to the destruction of what India stands for.
It was evident during the protest that even though everyone was against CAA, the reasons behind it were vastly different. People from the Northeast, an area that has been plunged into fire and turmoil due to the bill had a different reason to reject CAB. As a man from Arunachal Pradesh goes on to say “ we don’t want CAA to be implemented in the Northeast. It’s a different approach for mainland India but for the Northeastern part of the country, we do not want any illegal immigrants coming to our state. It’s not about being Hindu or being Muslim, it’s irrespective of that. This act totally violates our status that has been provided, it will totally affect our culture. In Tripura, the tribals are around 30%, we are joining rally because even though they have a different cause, the main goal is to resist this act.”
Some people like Bilal Saifi, a graduate from Delhi University were resisting CAB with a different agenda in mind. He says “ We are basically struggling and fighting for our existence. The first priority is roti, kapda, makan ( food, clothing, shelter), then comes liberty, freedom, and our existence. We are facing an existential crisis just because of this fascist regime. We want to show that they are not just targeting Muslims, they are also attacking the constitution, the very structure, belief, and value system of the constitution. This government is targeting our basic rights and the Constitution and that is why we are here protesting.”
Feature Image Credits: Aditi Gutgutia for DU Beat
Prabhanu Kumar Das