Two long marches, protesting the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens by the Centre, were taken out by the people of Kochi on Monday afternoon.
The People's Long March, which started from Kaloor Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium premises, ended near Cochin Shipyard. It saw participation of hundreds of people including social and cultural activists. The other led by a group of cultural activists, called Face One, was from the Gandhi Square near Rajendra Maidanam to Fort Kochi's Vasco De Gama Square.
Dalit activist Rekha Raj, who took part in the Peopleâ€™s Long March, said: â€œIt has been wrongly propagated that the controversial legislation will only affect the Muslims. But it is not so and thousands of people who have gathered here now are a symbol of that understanding. It is a hearty sight to see such a huge number of people coming out against the RSS agenda."
Kanaka Durga, one of the two women who made history by entering Sabarimala following the Supreme Court verdict last year, participated in the long march and expressed solidarity with the agitations happening across the country.
MLA VT Balram, another participant, took a dig at the BJP-ruled Central government which has lost the elections in the state of Jharkhand only hours before. "The Jharkhand election results give the reply to Modi's statement that protestors can be identified from the clothes they wear," said Balram, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modiâ€™s recent remark, insinuating that it is the Muslims who are protesting against the CAA.
The second march taken out by cultural activists had a number of artistes from the Malayalam film industry taking part in it. Writers NS Madhavan, Syam Pushkaran, Anwar Ali, Unni R and S Hareesh, cinematographer-director Venu, directors Kamal, Rajev Ravi, Aashiq Abu, actor-directors Geetu Mohandas and Dileesh Pothan, actors Rima Kallingal, Sheethal Shyam and others were mentioned as taking part in the protest.
Familiar faces of directors Aashiq Abu, Geetu Mohandas and Kamal, actors Nimisha Sajayan, Shane Nigam and Manikandan, singer Shahabas Aman were among those who shouted slogans against fascism.
Geetu Mohandas at the march / Courtesy: Facebook
"Down Down Fascism, Down Down BJP, Down Down Narendra Modi," were some of the slogans they shouted. The banner they carried in the front read: "United, Ottakkalla Ottakkalla (not alone)"
A large number of people were behind the artistes-led march, in two rows, carrying placards with messages like 'No violence but no silence', 'Against discrimination' and so on.
After the march, there was also a music concert by the band Oorali, by musicians Shahabaz Aman, Reshmi Satheesh, John P Varkey and so on.
A third long march against the CAA -- Save Constitution March -- led by CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran was also held in Kochi at the same time. It started from Kalamassery and ended in Rajendra Maidanam. Kanam Rajendran said that no one who loves India could accept Modi.