Willing to talk to Mumbai Bagh protesters, says BJP

Updated: Feb 19, 2020, 07:29 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

Party's city vice president Haji Hyder Azam reaches out to women of Morland Road, says he wants to clear doubts about CAA, NPR, NRC

Women protesters on Morland Road in Nagpada. File pic
Women protesters on Morland Road in Nagpada. File pic

BJP president Amit Shah last week said he would 'give time within three days' to those wanting to discuss the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) issue with him. Taking a cue, on Monday evening, Mumbai BJP vice president Haji Hyder Azam wrote to the protesters of Mumbai Bagh requesting an audience with them to 'understand their issues' so that 'a solution can be found.'

Last Sunday, protesters at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi marched towards Shah's residence — an act of taking him up on his word of being open to discussing the CAA issue. However, they were stopped by police citing security reasons.

Haji Hyder Azam
Haji Hyder Azam

Activist Feroz Mithiborwala, core committee member of Hum Bharat Ke Log, who has been at the forefront with the women of Mumbai Bagh for the past 20 days said that he would engage if approached by the BJP for a dialogue. Mithiborwala received and signed the letter sent by Azam on behalf of the protesters on Monday.

"We have received a letter which says that they (BJP) would like to have a dialogue on the CAA-NRC (National Register of Citizens) issue," Mithiborwala told mid-day. "We welcome the move and they can come here and talk to us."

Anti-CAA protesters at Morland Road in Nagpada. File pic
Anti-CAA protesters at Morland Road in Nagpada. File pic

When asked what he hoped would come out of this meeting, if and when it happened, he said, "I think what would come out is that they realise that CAA-NRC-NPR (National Population Register) is not required."

Both, Shah and Azam's invitation to anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen and Mumbai Bagh respectively have come in the background of the party's defeat in the recently concluded Delhi Assembly elections, in which BJP ran an aggressive anti-Shaheen Bagh narrative.

The letter that Haji Hyder Azam wrote to the protesters
The letter that Haji Hyder Azam wrote to the protesters

Speaking to mid-day, Azam said, "There are women protesting in large numbers at Morland Road. People are confused and don't know the facts. We thought of speaking to the people and putting forth the government's stance as well as hearing out their issues and concerns. The Opposition parties have got together and made this (CAA-NRC-NPR) an issue."

When asked if his and the BJP's stance towards the Mumbai Bagh protesters would have still been the same had they been part of the Maharashtra government, he said: "I work in the party, for the community. So if the community has any issues, it is my duty to look into it. Both (BJP and anti-CAA protesters) can put forward viewpoints and if there is a solution, we can find it."

When asked if anti-CAA dissenters across the country are misinformed about the CAA-NRC-NPR issue, he said, "Until we sit down with them, we cannot understand their problems and issues. People think because of NRC, the citizenship of Muslims is in danger, but NRC has not even been implemented yet."

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