As demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) continued, Dharavi and Malwani witnessed protest marches on Sunday. On the other hand, a rally supporting CAA and NRC was taken out by local BJP and RSS leaders in Ghatkopar.
In Malwani and Dharavi, thousands gathered to protest in the afternoon. Both demonstrations, which were organised by local groups, were attended mostly by students and working professionals.
In Malwani, the protest march began around 1 pm and ended by 3 pm. “I am here as I believe that what the government is doing is wrong,” said Shakuntala Kamath, a senior citizen. Her daughter, 38-year-old Mayuri Kamath, added: “We are marching for the minorities and for everyone this government sees as a threat. This country has been secular and will be secular.”
“I wanted to come and protest earlier as well but couldn’t as that would mean losing a day’s pay. But today, I decided to come to Malwani when I read WhatsApp messages regarding the protest,” said Sanjay Kelkar, a bakery chain employee from Goregaon.
The protesters gathered around the mosque in Malwani. “Around 4,000 to 5,000 attended the protest. No untoward incident was reported,” said Jagdeo Kalapad, senior Inspector of Malwani police.
In Dharavi, around 6,000 people walked across the 90 Feet Road, holding placards and raising anti-NRC and anti-CAA slogans. Over 200 uniformed police personnel were deployed in the area. The protesters arrived from areas including Sion and Mahim. “It’s a Sunday and we have stepped out to protest against the government’s decision to differentiate between religions,” said Zuveria Shaha, a Sion resident.
In Ghatkopar, a silent rally was taken out by over 2,000 people, including local residents, RSS members and BJP leaders. The rally began from Joshi Wadi and concluded at the Hindu cremation ground.
“We took to the streets to debunk the myths that anti-social elements have been spreading about CAA. The Act is not religious, it is patriotic,” said Rahul Vihan, an RSS member. BJP leader MP Manoj Kotak attended the event.
“We want this rally to be silent because we don’t have to prove anything. We are peaceful while the others have been throwing stones and abuses everywhere,” Rekha Maniyar, a protester, said.
Deepak Nanewar, a Mulund resident who had come for the protest, added: “Messages are doing rounds on social media, asking people to call a number to register support. We are not sure who has started it, but all of us have already registered our support by dialling the number.”