Several thousand people gathered at Darussalam, waving Indian flags and holding up photos of Dr B R Ambedkar and copies of the Preamble of the Constitution of India.

At mammoth protest against CAA in Hyderabad Owaisi says its a fight to save IndiaAll images: Nitin B
news CAA Sunday, December 22, 2019 - 08:56

A massive crowd of people came together at Hyderabad's Darussalam, the headquarters of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and (CAA) the National Register of Citizens (NRC). 

Several thousand people gathered, waving Indian flags and holding up photos of Dr BR Ambedkar and copies of the Preamble. Speaking at the event, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that the fight against NRC and CAA was a fight to save the country and its constitution.

Stating that this will be a long-drawn fight, the Hyderabad MP appealed to people to ensure that the struggle was peaceful.

"Don't resort to violence under any circumstances. This is what the enemy wants. Don't fall into their trap," he told the gathering. 

He also appealed to the crowd to hoist the Indian flag at every home.

“I want to appeal to the people of the country who are against the CAA and NRC to hoist an Indian flag at their house, to show that Gandhian values are still alive in us. The flag will send a message that Ambedkar's values are alive and that they are against fascists," Owaisi said, to a roaring crowd. 

Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accusing him of dividing the country on the basis of religion, Owaisi said, "We rejected partition and rejected the invitation of Jinnah. Amit Shah is weak in history. This Darussalam is where Jinnah had come 70 years ago and given a speech.  We chose to stay here. This is our loyalty and love for the country. This very ground of Darussalam today hoists the Indian flag."

Addressing those who called him a 'gaddar' (traitor), Owaisi said, "Please go ahead and shoot me. I am here to save my country. My fight is for respect.”

Owaisi said that it was not a fight of Muslims alone. "There are Dalit, Scheduled Tribes and others in the fight. A major part of the country is with us." 

Alleging that the government wanted to make Muslims stateless, Owaisi said, "I am fine if you want to give citizenship to people of Bangladesh or Pakistan or Afghanistan, but why give them that on the basis of religion?"

Owaisi also said that the momentum of the fight had to be maintained for 6 to 7 months, without violence, for the desired result.

Hyderabad roars against CAA

The public meeting was organised by the United Muslim Action Committed and saw people from all religions and all walks of life participate. 

From early evening, several people began pouring in. Many had come from other states as well, including Karnataka, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, besides other parts of Telangana. 

While large groups turned up, holding national flags and copies of the Preamble, other protestors were seen busy making creative posters, including some with Hyderabadi slang. 

The national flags were brought to the venue, on Owaisi's call, who appealed for the same through a video message earlier in the day. 

Dissent and anger brewed among those who gathered as many raised slogans against Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. 

"Let them see the crowd that has gathered here today. Let them see the national flag flying high in the ground and let's see if they can call us anti-national now," said Syed, a protestor from Hyderabad. 

As the sun set, the crowd kept growing by the minute, even before a single speaker was on stage. Many also offered their evening prayers before the event began. 

As the event began and speeches were delivered, the crowd kept growing. Slogans of 'Hindustan Zindabad' could be heard after each speaker's turn, as the swelling crowd began scaling walls and breaking down barricades. 

Towards the end of the event, the crowd had gathered all around the stage and organisers had to prevent more people from entering, as they could not accommodate them on the ground. 

Several Muslim leaders spoke on stage, representing different sects of Islam. Human rights lawyers Aman Wadud, who has worked extensively against the NRC in Assam, also spoke at the event, besides Osmania University Dalit student leader Sharath Chamar. 

Noted activist Sandhya from the Progressive Organisation for Women (POW) and Dr. Asma Zehra, Chief Coordinator of AIMPLB Women's Wing also addressed the gathering.

At one point, as slogans were raised, Owaisi took to the stage and said, "I don't want any religious slogans today. I only want to hear 'Hindustan Zindabad'," to which the crowd erupted in cheers. 

Jamia students call for bigger movement

Two female students of Jamia Millia Islamia, who became the face of the anti-CAA protests, also attended the protest meet on Saturday and called for building a bigger movement to free the country from 'fascist forces'.

Ladeeda Farzana and Aysha Renna, whose videos showing them saving a male friend from lathi-wielding policemen at Jamia went viral, drew loud cheers from thousands of people, as they spoke. They stressed the need for a larger alliance, by joining hands with Dalits and other marginalised sections of society. 

 "We salute all the martyrs who laid down their lives fighting against this draconian law. We also salute all those who are on streets raising their voice," said Ladeeda, as the crowd erupted with cheers. 

The two students also demanded the release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who was arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with violence during an anti-CAA protest in the capital.

Recalling her meeting with Azad on Friday, Ladeeda described him as an inspiration for everyone.

"We are not real icons. It's just that our videos went viral," said Aysha, adding that it was not just the fight for Muslims, but a fight for all the people.

She also lashed out at the BJP and the 'Sangh Parivar' for resorting to a hate campaign and targeting Muslim women who were raising their voice for justice.

In a heartening incident towards the end of the event, Asaduddin Owaisi read out the Preamble of the Constitution of India along with all those who had gathered and asked them to remain peaceful and steadfast in their protest.


'We, the people': Thousands read out the Preamble at massive anti-CAA rally in Hyd

Jamia students Aysha, Ladeeda attend anti-CAA meet in Hyd, get rousing reception