Whose soil is it? Our soil
Whose land is it? Our land
Whose India is it? Our India
Singing these lines, hundreds of fishermen in Kerala sailed their boats on the backwaters on Thursday to join the countrywide protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which excludes Muslims from its ambit.
On January 9, the fisherfolk from Chaliyam, Kozhikode, didn’t go to work and instead, used their boats to sing and protest the controversial act, that, clubbed with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), is feared to unfairly disadvantage Muslims as well as vulnerable groups without access to documentation to prove citizenship.
The fisherfolk waved the national flag from every boat as they raised slogans against the act. They called it a water march.
One protest banner read: 'Against the conspiracy of the central government to deny citizenship to a section (of people) in the name of religion'.
The march that included men, women and children was flagged off by Kadalundi Grama Panchayat President CK Ajayakumar.
Kerala’s fisherfolk have been instrumental in saving hundreds of lives over the last two years when the state was ravaged by back-to-back floods. They have received high praise for their brave journeys through the waters, risking their own lives and livelihood, while trying to save the many stranded people across the state. Many lost their fishing boats, some even got badly injured but they worked tirelessly, often getting no sleep or food, till the floods receded. The state government honoured them for their selfless service. Despite the heavy losses they had suffered in 2018, the fisherfolk ventured out yet again in 2019, when heavy rains and floods had affected the state, to carry out rescues.
Thursday's water march on the sea is to show their solidarity with the anti-CAA protests. One of the fishermen told Media One, “This is a fight to live in the land that we were born in. This is a land where Hindus and Muslims have lived together as brothers. We want to maintain this brotherhood till the end. We will fight this bill (Act).”