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Friday, January 17, 2020

Arundhati Roy hits out at govt: One day you will be in detention centre and all of us will be azad

"If we all get together, there won't be a detention centre big enough for us. Maybe there will be a day when this government will be in a detention centre, and all of us azad (free). We won't back down," Arundhati Roy said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 11, 2020 6:05:42 pm
Arundhati Roy turned up at Jamia Millia Islamia on Saturday. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy turned up at Jamia Millia Islamia on Saturday to express solidarity with the students protesting against the Citizenship law and said there won’t be a detention centre big enough if “we all get together”.

“If we all get together, there won’t be a detention centre big enough for us. Maybe there will be a day when this government will be in a detention centre, and all of us azad (free). We won’t back down,” Arundhati Roy, who has participated in protests against the amended Citizenship law and has vehemently criticised the legislation, said while addressing a gathering at the university.

Last month, Roy, along with leading writers and artists, described the Citizenship law as “divisive, discriminatory and unconstitutional”, and demanded that the government withdraw it. A statement issued by them stated that the law would “along with a nationwide NRC, bring untold suffering to people across the country”.

The December 15 police crackdown on Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, when forces had entered the university, clashed with students, and lobbed tear gas shells in the library and elsewhere on campus, leaving many of the students injured, has since blown up into domino protests across the country against the new Citizenship Amendment Act and a proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).

At Jamia, the protests had been simmering for a while, fuelled by deep anxieties as the Citizenship law — which leaves out Muslims as it seeks to ease citizenship to illegal migrants from three neighbouring countries — coursed through Parliament with little resistance.

Even as protests continue across the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the government on Friday notified the controversial legislation, making it effective beginning January 10. This practically means that beginning January 10, at least legally, illegal immigrants from communities – barring Muslims – can apply for Indian citizenship under the new Act. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is yet to notify the rules for CAA.

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