Citizenship Act: 60 groups call for nationwide protest

Citizenship Act: 60 groups call for nationwide protest

Protestors during a demonstration, #NOTINMYNAME, demanding withdrawl of Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Over 60 organisations and movements have given a call for a nation-wide protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) on December 19 the martyrdom day of Ashfaqulla Khan and Ramprasad Bismil.

Apparently the day has been chosen by the activists to send out a message of the sacrifices made by Hindus and Muslims together for the nation’s freedom, at a time when the issue of the Act granting citizenship to non-Muslim citizens from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh has led to huge protests in different parts of the countries including by students of Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi.

“This is also the day when Mahatma Gandhi had visited Ghaseda village in Mewat (now Haryana) in 1947 to appeal to Meo Muslims not to leave for Pakistan. As many as 70,000 Muslims walked back from Pakistan border heading to Bapu's promise on citizenship,” the organizers said in a press statement.

Under the programme titled Ham Bharat Ke Log: National Action Against Citizenship Amendment, events have been planned in more than 100 locations under the banner to recall "saajhi virasat, saajhi shahadat, saajhi nagrikta" (shared heritage, shared sacrifice, shared citizenship)

“Citizens will take a pledge for non-cooperation with any registration (NRC or NPR) based on this discriminatory and divisive citizenship,” the organisations said in a press statement.

Deciding to observe December 19 as the day to reject the Citizenship Amendment Act passed by the parliament, organisations including Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Gandhi Peace Foundation, Rashtra Seva Dal, Sarv Seva Sangh, All India Progressive Women's Association and Swaraj Abhiyan said that the “discriminatory and divisive” Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 is an assault on our constitution and the inclusive, composite vision of India that guided our freedom struggle.

Some other organisations part of the campaign are United Against Hate, Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Citizens for Peace and Justice, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Joint Forum Against NRC (WB), National Alliance for Peoples Movements.

The organisations held that the Republic of India was founded on the negation of the two-nation theory that viewed citizenship through the prism of religion and felt that the recent Amendment to the Citizenship Act brings back the two-nation theory by introducing a distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims for purposes of granting exemption for citizenship by naturalisation.

They also said that the proposal to extend National Register of Citizenship to the entire country would institutionalise this “divisive” citizenship further.

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