Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram once again witnessed a big protest demanding scrapping of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).
The public meeting at Gandhi Park and the rally encircling it in the city witnessed huge participation of the youth, who raised slogans with utmost vigour. The protest was organised by Janakeeya Prathirodha Samithi (Public Resistance Committee). Activist Medha Patkar led the rally and inaugurated the public meeting.
Holding up a copy of the Constitution, Medha Patkar said that we all are committed it. Not that those who are implementing CAA, NRC and NPR don’t understand the Constitution, but they don’t feel committed to it and are imposing all these on people thinking that they are dumb, she said.
“Minorities of various kinds have also contributed to the development of the nation. But Muslims, like happened in Muzaffarnagar in UP, who haven’t even participated in any kind of agitation against the government, have been put behind bars. And now even judiciary is not a pillar of the democracy. Everything stands and ends with paper. These papers many a time fail to stand as testimony for someone’s citizenship. The papers are not even documents that would certify someone’s identity,” Medha added.
Students of Jamia Milia University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Pondicherry University also took part in the protest.
Medha said that old people are willing to come under the leadership of the youth and take forward the fight to win the battle.
NPR, she said, can start putting lakhs of people under the category of doubtful citizens. “Who would decide who all are doubtful citizens, with different documents like the Aadhaar, Election Identity Card etc., which are contradictory enough? She added that we should bypass these and move ahead.
“We should stand for National Register against Communalism, Casteism and various forms of corruption. A government which fears its people is the one which doesn't come forward for a dialogue,” she said.
The protest began by staging a street play that narrated how NPR can take people out of citizenship unilaterally and stated that people shouldn’t be pushed out of the country because of their religion.
Advocate Manjeri Sundar Raj chaired the meeting. Poet Kureepuzha Sreekumar, IT advisor to the erstwhile VS Achuthanandan government Joseph C Mathew, among others, spoke.