Protesters confident of defeating CAA-NRC

Protesters confident of defeating CAA-NRC

Women during an anti-CAA protest in front of Town Hall in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH PHOTO/JANARDHAN B K

Activists joining the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) have decided to sustain the momentum until their unity forces the Centre to reverse its stance. 

S Sasikanth Senthil, who quit the lucrative Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in August saying democracy was under threat, said the Union government was caught on the backfoot by anti-CAA protests across the country. “They didn’t expect such resistance to their plans,” he said. 

When asked if the protests could potentially defeat the government’s plans and the CAA, he said: “They are already losing.” 

Senthil was speaking after a convention organised by All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) on Saturday to protest against the CAA and the NRC. Students from seven city colleges attended the event. 

Speakers said the campaigns against the CAA and the NRC involved fighting a threat India had never faced before. “Part of the threat involves suppressing free speech on a level not seen since the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi’s,” explained K C Raghu, a historian and political analyst. 

While Senthil predicted that the “beautifully chaotic” nature of India would make it impossible for the government to implement the NRC, former Advocate-General Ravivarma Kumar said if the exercise was carried out, it would result in a goldmine for corruption. 

“The act is so vague that it will create a room for corruption — a situation compounded by the fact that voter IDs, Aadhaar and driving licence are not considered valid to establish citizenship,” Kumar explained. 

'Govt denying large venues for protests' 

Several AIDSO members claimed that the government had denied them permission to hold the convention at a large hall. “We were told that the government had issued strict instructions denying large venues for anti-CAA rallies,” V N Rajashekhar, all India president of AIDSO, alleged. 

"This reveals the Modi government’s fear of anti-CAA rallies. The authorities believe that populace would regard the CAA in much the same way as it did demonetisation. That they would queue up in support. Instead, people took to the streets,” he added. 

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