28 days on, anti-CAAers say stronger than ever

28 days on, anti-CAAers say stronger than ever

Amulya Leona, 19, who is a student in Bengaluru, protests against the CAA at Town Hall on Jan 13, 2019.

As opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the city entered its 28th day on Monday, the fervour of protesters appeared unabated.

Members of the public who gathered for a “Mangaluru” solidarity event at Town Hall expressed confidence that the protests would continue until the “bitter end” or until the “government gives in to their demand”.

Amulya Leona, 19, a student activist who recently took to Tinder to help shuffle people towards anti-CAA protests, read poetry against the government at the event. She described the acts of civil disobedience as having effect. 

“I am convinced that the government will withdraw. Look, it is not just the people assembled here. There are a lot of people out there showing their dissent against the government and it is going to have an effect,” she said.

Another Bengaluru student, Safrina Begum, also 19, who said she was from Mangalore, said the protests were showing the government the mettle of people. 

The protesters also rejected the Centre’s claim that CAA will not affect Indian citizens. “I am a student of history. The government can’t tell me that its actions will not have an effect on me or others,” Begum said.

The implications of not doing anything are massive, Leona added, warning that the country would see “dark days” if the Narendra Modi-led government was allowed to fulfil its agenda.

Novel approaches

The approach to dissent has evolved from the usual tactic of sloganeering, flag-waving and bombastic speeches with which the anti-CAAers had launched their opening salvo against the government on December 17.

Instead, recent incidents of civil disobedience in the city have become increasingly sophisticated, ranging from discussions by experts, “Twitter storms”, poetry readings and even a rare rap session on Sunday at Cubbon Park, which saw 15 amateur hip-hop singers trading anti-CAA verses with a crowd of onlookers.

“This government has messed up repeatedly — on demonetisation, on Aadhaar. They are not fixing the economy. This CAA business is another blunder. We will not stop fighting it,” said Affan Wanandaf, 21, one of the rappers.

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