Mangaluru: A massive protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), organised by the Muslim Central Committee of the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, was held at Shah Grounds near Adyar on Wednesday, January 15. The protest was peaceful and sent a strong message that they will not back away from opposing the Act.
Activist and former IAS officer Harsha Mander, the chief speaker at the protest said, “The Union Government is trying to divide the country on the basis of religion. They should not be allowed to execute their plan. It is a matter of shame for a citizen of any country to have to prove their citizenship with documents. As the BJP government intends to turn India into a Hindu nation, they are trying to chase away Muslims. We should not allow them to execute their deadly plan as India is a secular country.”
Mander also expressed his readiness to go a detention centre, if the government seeks to prove citizenship on the basis of religion. “If the government is targeting the Muslim community while implementing the NRC, I will refuse to present my documents to prove my citizenship and I am ready to go the detention centre,” he said adding that everyone should show their solidarity against the CAA and NRC.
Human rights activist Shivasundar said, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are cheating the public by making contradicting statements. “When Modi announced that the government will not implement the NRC, Amit Shah said that the government will definitely implement it. The hidden agenda behind the implementation of the NRC is to protect the Hindu community while driving the Muslim community away. However, Dalits, people of backward classes and non-Hindus should also be aware that the proposed Act is not only a threat to the Muslim community, but also a threat to them,” he said.
Retired IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan said, “As people from all communities are expressing their displeasure over the CAA, NCR and NPR, the government is steadily stepping back from the decision of implementing the Act. However, Amit Shah says that the government is not ready to withdraw it. Unable to accept defeat, he is making false statements. As there has been strong opposition to the Act from all sections of society, the government will definitely revoke its decision. However, we should not stop our fight until we achieve success.”
Advocate Sudheer Kumar Maroli, while addressing the gathering, said that even though Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has assured that no harm will come to the Muslim community, we cannot trust his words. “When Yediyurappa left the BJP long ago, he lauded Tipu Sultan. When he rejoined the BJP, he said that Tipu Sultan was a communal leader. How can trust his words?” he questioned.
Before and after the protest rally, traffic congestion was witnessed along National Highway 75 as hundreds of people thronged to the venue. An ambulance was also stuck in the middle of traffic for quite some time. However, it managed to make it out with the help of some volunteers. Some protesters were seen atop buses, on the way to the venue.
Thousands of protesters at the venue were heard shouting slogans of "Azadi" and slogans against PM Modi while holding the national flag. Over one lakh people participated in the protest. There wasn't a single untoward incident during the protest as there were a large number of volunteers present to manage the crowd, who dispersed peacefully after the protest was over.
Muslim Central Committee president K S Mohammed Masood presided over the programme. Muslim Central Committee vice president Ibrahim Kodijal welcomed the gathering. Former minister B Ramanath Rai, MLA U T Khader, MLC B M Farooq, former MLAs Mohiuddin Bava and J R Lobo, leaders from the SDPI and others were present.
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