Hyderabad: Scores of citizens gathered on Tank Bund to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and National Registry of Citizens (NRC). The CAB is expected to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
People from across the city lined up on the pavement holding placards which carried messages such as ‘Don’t Divide Citizens Based on Religion’, ‘Hindu Muslim Behen Bhai, CAB Bye Bye’ and ‘Say No to Divide and Rule’. Many protestors were Muslims but there were several Hindus.
Mr K. Rahamatulla, a student of Maulana Azad National Urdu University said (Manuu), “The home minister (Amit Shah) has specifically stated that Muslims are the targets. The Centre has said it will give refuge to immigrants who are Buddhist, Sikh and of other religions (but not Muslims). They are trying to send us the message that Muslims are not a part of this country.”
Another protester called out the Bharatiya Janata Party for wanting a nationwide NRC exercise. Mr Umar Farooq, a student union leader in Manuu, said, “They (Centre) wasted crores on NRC in Assam. The whole exercise was pointless; it only caused trouble for the poor in that state. In spite of this experience, BJP leaders across the country are asking for a nationwide NRC.”
Mr Baksh, a native of the city, said, “The basic idea of India is being distorted. Attempts are being made to make it seem that some Indians are more ‘Indian’ than others. We cannot let this happen. I hope all Indians come to the front and speak.”
Unalika, a student of the University of Hyderabad, who has family in Assam, said, “I have personally seen how NRC has made the lives of Assamese people difficult. We cannot allow such marginalisation of communities to happen again. We hope the people will learn from Assam’s example.”
Many of the protestors questioned the state government’s silence over the NRC. “Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is yet to comment on the matter. On the other hand, (West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee, whose state shares a border with Bangladesh, has come out against it. I request the Telangana legislature to pass a resolution condemning NRC,” said Mr Sanaullah.
The protestors who were handing out pamphlets had to contend with hecklers. One stopped his car to speak to a woman protester. “How dare you support illegal immigrants!” he shouted. She explained that this wasn’t the case, but the man refused to listen, shouted and drove away. The protester smiled and said, “We meet such people all the time. They refuse to listen to anything we have to say.”...