Intensifying its protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Congress in Kerala took out a "Maha Rally" to the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday, in which various leaders, including former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, participated.
The rally, which began from Martyr's Column, was led by KPCC President Mullapally Ramachandran, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala, besides Chidambaram.
Hundreds of party workers, including MPs and MLAs, were among those who participated.
The rally was held as part of the "Save the Constitution-Save India" campaign of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in Kerala.
According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who'd come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but will be given Indian citizenship on a fast track. According to the Act, refugees belonging to the six communities will be given Indian citizenship if they've resided in India for five years, instead of 11 years as required by naturalisation law. However, the Act denies the same provisions to Muslim refugees as well as other communities from countries other than the three Muslim-majority ones that have been specified.
Although the CAA does not deal with Indian citizens, there is fear among the people that in combination with the proposed nation-wide National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Act will end up stripping Indian Muslims of their citizenship while allowing Indians of other faiths who don't have the required documents to retain their citizenship through the CAA.
âThousands of young people have come to the streets. This is not a fight between Muslims and the government, this is a fight by Indians. All are equal in this country. But the youth of this country have realised the grave danger to the Constitution and I say âmore power to youâ,â said Chidambaram, addressing the gathering.
He also added that the NRC and the CAA are not very different from each other. âNRC will make a list of people, while CAA will allow all except Muslims in that list to stay in the country. Both of these are a direct onslaught on Muslims. They also discriminate the Tamil immigrants from Sri Lanka. In every way this law is unconstitutional and hence I am confident the Supreme Court of the country will strike it down,â he says.
Meanwhile, Mullappally Ramachandran said that the Congress will continue to protest until the law is struck down. âTill the breath of the last Congressperson exists here, the secular and democratic values of the country cannot be destroyed. From farmers' issues to unemployment, there are a lot of pressing issues that this country faces, but they have made religion as the centre of the problem now,â he said.
(With inputs from PTI)