Not In My Name: Protests Over Citizenship Amendment Bill
Coverage from the protests in New Delhi
NEW DELHI: “I was born in Dhubri district in Assam. As my family was originally from Bihar, we needed certificates for proof when NRC took place. Bihar officials delayed it. Today, my name is not in the NRC. What kind of justice is this?” Zeeshan, a Delhi University student asked.
Citizens have taken to the streets across the country to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed by both houses of parliament last week.
One such massive protest, witnessing the participation of thousands of students, teachers, lawyers, jurists, villagers, and activists took place at Jantar Mantar on Saturday, December 14.
“This Bill is against secularism and constitution but I hardly have any faith in the Supreme Court. After all, we haven’t heard any justice in the case of Kashmir, till now,’’ Ruchika, a research scholar lamented.
Even the advocates participating in the protest held similar views.
“No law can be worse than this. If we cannot establish our citizenship, we are a refugee. Even for a Hindu, he/she needs proof of being persecuted in the neighbouring countries. How can one provide proof after so many years?” Dinesh Dwivedi, Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court stated.
When asked about whether the Supreme Court could stop it, Dinesh Dwivedi mentioned, “Our fight is to come together, fight for justice. Rest everything is political.”
Speaking from the podium while addressing the gigantic audience, Gauhar Raza, the Indian scientist, and Urdu poet bagged massive applause.
“Someone is being attacked, someone is being called anti-national. Meanwhile, the land was being prepared for the Hindu Rashtra. The face of this has been seen in Germany and South America,” Gauhar Raza declared.
While linking the current protests with the rapid rise of unemployment and the decay in the growth of the Indian economy, he further exclaimed, “Har Naujawan ke haanth se roti cheen li hai in paanch saalon mein.” (Every morsel of food has been snatched away from the hands of the youth of India in the past 5 years).
As more people joined the protest, it could be easily seen that it was not a Delhi-centric demonstration. People of different age-groups had assembled from different parts of North India.
“Protests are happening everywhere. It happened in my hometown in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, too,” Purnima, an Activist revealed.
“The RSS agenda is to use parliamentary majority to make India a Hindu Rashtra. More than 60% of Indian citizens do not support BJP but because it has a parliamentary majority, we are helpless. The Hindu Rashtra project is targeting minorities. People will not allow India to become a theocratic country,” Annie Raja, the General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Women stated.
“They are talking about other minorities being persecuted in the neighbouring countries. What about Indian Muslims who are being persecuted here? Where is the justice, who will stop it?” she further added.
“Our grandparents fought in the independence movement. My family members were soldiers in the Kargil War. But today, we have to prove our citizenship? How can the pens of RSS be stopped?” Ishrat Jawahar from Purani Dilli, exclaimed.
The placards - reading ‘Stop Religious Profiling’, ‘India needs law and order, not CAB’, ‘CAB is hateful, discriminatory, unconstitutional’, ‘CAB is the black law’ and ‘No citizenship based on religion’ - could be seen from afar.
“This bill is against the constitution. Be it Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Parsis. The Delhi architecture is our legacy. Look at the tombs, the forts. We have sacrificed in the Freedom Struggle. But today, we will be asked for evidence?” Zafar Siddiqui from Rashtriya Janseva Manav Adhikar Sangathan spoke.
The anger, frustration, and helplessness of the protestors at the Jantar Mantar was palpable. In spite of the heavy police and CRPF presence, the protestors were not scared and they kept shouting their slogans, demanding justice and a voice.
As the protest was about to wind-up, a very elderly man, silently watching the crowd, softly spoke, “It is good to see everyone come together and fight for justice. I am growing old; my voice is feeble. But it gives me the strength to hear them.”
Meanwhile, after yesterday's brutal lathi-charge by Delhi Police officials at students of Jamia Milia Islamia, their hope remains undaunted.
“Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai...” tweeted @pepper_smoker, showcasing the indomitable courage and gusto of Jamia students. After being trolled on twitter, the user continues to fight for her voice.
The impeccable spirit of protestors and the fight for justice against the Citizen Amendment Bill doesn’t seem likely to die down anytime soon, as several Indian cities continue to witness such demonstrations.