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Watch: ‘India against CAA’ protests witness thousands throng streets of Bengaluru

As the peaceful agitation continued for over 3 hours, protesters continued to reiterate that the protests would continue across the country until the Act is withdrawn.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru | Published: December 16, 2019 12:04:34 am
Bangalore-CAA-protests-Town-Hall-night Protests against the Citizenship Act went on for over three hours in Bengaluru on Sunday. Express Photo/Ralph Alex Arakal

As protests against the Citizenship Act continued in several parts of the country, over 3,500 people including prominent personalities from different walks of life gathered together in Bengaluru to express dissent against the new law.

The Karnataka capital has been witnessing several protests since the Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha last week as the same continued to take place in Sir Puttana Chetty Town Hall on Sunday as well.

Indicating the prime objective of the protests, over 500 people erected a huge banner with the replica Preamble of the Indian Constitution imprinted on it alongside “India Against CAA” to begin the agitation.

Later, eminent personalities including author and historian Ramachandra Guha, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Gowda, filmmaker Kavita Lankesh, JD(S) national spokesperson Tanveer Ahmed Ullah, Congress spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa addressed the crowd that kept growing in numbers, leading to traffic around the area being choked for a few minutes.

Bangalore-CAA-protests-Town-Hall Protesters arrived in huge numbers choking traffic in and around Town Hall in Bengaluru on Sunday. Express Photo/Ralph Alex Arakal

Protesters carried placards which read “India refuses CAA,” “Save Assam Accord,” “United in Heart, United in Spirit, We reject CAA”, “We will not stay silent,” and “Save Democracy” among others as the crowd chanted the same in English, Hindi, Kannada, Assamese, and Bengali.

Addressing the crowd, Ramachandra Guha alleged that the Union government is trying to impose one language and one religion in the country. “We will resist it. The students of Assam are following the tradition of the students of Tamil Nadu who refused Hindi imposition,” he said.

He added, “This country was founded on the principle of diversity. We want democracy, we want pluralism.”

However, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Gowda said that the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in both Houses of the Parliament because of the majority people gave to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the elections.

“I have come back from Delhi with a heavy heart but this does not mean this is the end of the fight. This is the conflict between two ideologies – one that divides India on the basis of religion and our ideology that wants to celebrate the diversity of India,” he said.

At the same time, filmmaker Kavita Lankesh (sister of slain journalist Gauri Lankesh), said that the protests held across the country “upheld worthy causes to save the Constitution.”

“Hope the fire in India that is burning now quietens down and instead the ruling government faces the heat,” she said.

Speaking to Indianexpress.com on the sidelines of the protest, JD(S) national spokesperson Tanveer Ahmed Ullah said the Citizenship Act is “communal.” He added, “This new law speaks about religion, community, and against the Constitution of this great nation. While we appreciate the fact that the country is trying to give space to Pakistani Hindus under torture there. At the same time, it is not right to neglect the Shias, the Ahmadis and other Muslims who suffer similarly in our neighbouring countries,” he said.

As slogans continued to be raised against PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa said, “The BJP government, from Day 1, has been trying to incite us with Article 370, Tripe Talaq, NRC, and now with the Citizenship Act now. The unity that we are in, despite these, shows our patriotism but the same should not be affected in the name of religion,” he said.

Earlier on Sunday, newly elected Shivajinagar MLA Rizwan Arshad stated that the recent changes in the Citizenship Act in conjunction with the proposed extension of NRC to the rest of India would strike at the foundation of the country.

“Selective targeting of one community is a reprehensible step & against the secular fabric and inclusiveness of our country,” he wrote on Twitter.

As the peaceful agitation continued for over 3 hours, protesters continued to reiterate that the protests would continue across the country until the Act is withdrawn.

“We will not retract until this communal law is withdrawn by the government to reinstate the secular fabric of this nation. Protests will intensify in the upcoming days and as a responsible government, the ruling leaders should soon address these issues raised by crores of people in India now,” said Renita Saikia, a student protester.

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