Hyderabad: Hundreds of people gathered at Dharna Chowk near Indira Park on Sunday morning to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Registry of Citizens (NRC). Mostly from the Muslim community, they slammed the BJP-led NDA government for bringing in the controversial CAA legislation that will allow migrants from persecuted minority communities, in neighbouring countries to apply for Indian citizenship, but excludes Muslims from doing so.
The protestors said CAA has made Muslims second-class citizens. They shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah for demonising the Muslim community and legalising discrimination against it. “Nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi, Modi teri tanashahi [...] Amit Shah teri gundagardi (We won't allow Modi's dictatorship and Shah's rowdyism),: they shouted.
The organisers were careful in instructing the crowd to not shout any slogans that could give their protest a religious bent. When one of the protestors shouted “Nara-e-Takbir” a slogan that is used alternatively with “Allah hu Akbar”, an organiser was quick to shush him.
The fear of being considered “communal” was pronounced. The organisers has emphasised that this had to be a peaceful protest and caused no inconvenience to any member of the public.
“Even if there is a small slip-up, they will say we are making trouble and try to shut us down,” Mr Hamid Mohammad Khan, state president of the Jamaat-e-Islami told the crowd. Not many protests in Hyderabad, or even in the country, are held amid such fear of being misunderstood.
An hour into the protest, the road on which Dharna Chowk is located was still open to traffic. But as the crowd swelled, police had to barricade the road. Some of protestors took out marches in the neighbourhood while many sat at the Chowk to listen to the speakers.
Mr Md Azharuddin from the Jamaat e-Islami Hind, one of the speakers at the protest, said, “We Hindustani Muslims chose to stay in this country. Many members of our community gave their lives for this country’s independence. In fact, those people (RSS), who sided with the British before 1947, are trying to portray us as outsiders.” He said there were many issues plaguing the country, but the central government was hell-bent on dividing the country on the basis of religion. “There are no onions anywhere. No development. The government only cares about NRC and CAB (now CAA). They claim India will become the home of persecuted immigrants from other countries, but what about Muslims in China and Myanmar? Doesn't your humanity acknowledge their problems?” he asked.
Mr Amjadullah Khan, Majis Bachao Tehreek spokesperson, pointed out many apparent loopholes in the CAA.
“The new law does not specify how long they have to wait for citizenship to be granted,” he said.
Rashmi, a degree student who had come with her friends, said, “The Act calls into question our status. My parents keep telling me India doesn’t care for us any more. I am feeling this to be true each day.”...