Your voice doesn't matter!

Updated: Jan 04, 2020, 08:33 IST | Agencies | New Delhi/Punjab/Bengaluru

Even as public continues to take to streets to demonstrate against the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Union Home Minister Amit Shah makes it clear the government won't budge an inch on the law.

Anti-CAA protesters shout slogans next to a caricature of Amit Shah with a Nazi Party swastika symbol during a protest in Delhi on Friday. Pic/AFP
Anti-CAA protesters shout slogans next to a caricature of Amit Shah with a Nazi Party swastika symbol during a protest in Delhi on Friday. Pic/AFP

New Delhi/Punjab/Bengaluru: Even as people across the country continued to take to the streets on Friday to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared that the Centre will not budge an inch on its decision to implement the law despite the nationwide criticism. Protesters gathered at Eidgah-e-Jadeed in Bengaluru demanding withdrawal of CAA. They carried placards against the CAA and against the BJP and RSS. "We Indians standing against NRC and CAA. Withdraw Citizenship Amendment Act," read one of the placards.

Black flags flutter in Punjab
In Punjab, members of the Muslim community demonstrated against CAA along with students. At Malerkotla, protesters were led by former JNU student leader Umar Khalid. On a call given by Muslim leaders in the state, they protested peacefully after Friday prayers, police said. Black flags were put up on mosques in protest. The protesters carried placards terming CAA "anti-Muslim" and against the Constitution. They waved black flags and wore badges to show their resentment. Punjab's Shahi Imam Habib-Ur-Rehman said such protests took place throughout the state.

A senior citizen joins anti-CAA demonstration in Delhi. Pic/AFP
A senior citizen joins anti-CAA demonstration in Delhi. Pic/AFP

Singh backs Kerala resolution
Amid protests, Punjab Chief Minister Capatain Amarinder Singh came out in support of the Kerala Assembly resolution that has demanded scrapping of the CAA. In an open letter to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Singh asserted that the states have already taken necessary legal advice on the matter and termed the Kerala Assembly's resolution on CAA the "voice of the people" as spoken through their elected representatives, and urged the Centre to pay heed to the same. According to Singh, by insisting that only Parliament under Article 245 of the Constitution has the legislative power to pass laws regarding citizenship, and not the state governments, the Union law minister has entirely missed the point of the resolution passed by the Kerala Assembly.

'CAA fails Constitution test'
In a series of tweets, posted along with the open letter, Singh said that as a lawyer Prasad "would know that #CAA fails the test of the Constitution". "I am seriously concerned that #CAA can be easily misused for infiltrating into the country, particularly in border states like Punjab. It's a potential threat to national security @rsprasad Ji. Does the @BJP4India led central govt even know what it is doing?" Singh said in a tweet.

Amarinder Singh
Amarinder Singh

Citing the sensitive border location of Punjab, the CM said, "Since CAA has no requirement of being of Indian origin or having to prove any such origins, this means any person claiming to be of the six religions [Hindu, Sikh, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christian] could simply apply in terms of the amended law, prove entry on/before the cut-off date and be eligible for citizenship." "This could in fact be misused for infiltration into our country, particularly in the border states, converting this misguided legislation into a national security threat," he said.

Mothers join stir with kids
Meanwhile, in Delhi, women and members from the queer and transgender communities took out a protest march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar against the CAA. Cries of 'Halla Bol' and 'Azaadi' rent the air as protesters voiced their dissent against the law. Mothers with toddlers in their arms also took part in the march.

Police probe researcher
An anti-CAA protester in Chennai and a citizen's collective on Friday hit out at the city police for bringing her under the scanner after her social media profile shed light on her role as a researcher with a Pakistan body. Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan had said on Wednesday that a probe would be carried out to ascertain whether Gayatri Khandhadai has links to Pakistan- based "Bytes for All".

Police said she has been a part of a slew of agitations held in the city. The Pakistan link Viswanathan was referring to was about her report on women, atheists and members of LGBT community in nine countries being harassed on the basis of faith, she said.

Stir has no effect on govt
Shah, who launched an "awareness programme" in support of the CAA in Jodhpur earlier in the day, said, "Even if all these parties come together, BJP will not move back even an inch on this issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act. You can spread as much misinformation as you want", Shah said.

Shivshankar Menon

'India has isolated itself through CAA'

Former Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon on Friday slammed the Centre over CAA, saying India has "isolated" itself through the move and the list of critical voices both at home and abroad is "pretty long." Menon said the perception of India has changed after the law was passed. "India has isolated itself through the move and the list of critical voices in the international community is also pretty long now. Perception of India has changed in the past few months. Even our friends have been taken aback," he said. "We seem determined with actions like these [CAA] to cut off and isolate ourselves... We seem to be in violation of international covenants," he added.

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