Thousands of people from across Chennai, predominantly from the Muslim community, gathered at Wallajah Road on Wednesday to protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as well as the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).
The protesters, from as many as 20 Muslim organisations and citizens’ groups, demand that the state Assembly pass a resolution against the CAA which excludes Muslims from its scope. Protests in Chennai have been ongoing since Saturday at Old Washermenpet and intensified following police action on protesters.
The protesters, which included hundreds of women, gathered at the Wallajah Road, shouting slogans and waving the Indian flag. Representatives of political parties, including the DMK and the MDMK, were also present.
“Our main demand is that the undemocratic CAA and NRC is repealed. In our fight against this, we do not need anyone’s help. We Muslims have grouped together to fight against this Act. This is our motherland, we were born and raised here. We will not go anywhere, no matter who asks us to,” a group of women protesters told TNM.
The protesters, who gathered despite the police denying permission to protest, threatened to lay siege to the state Secretariat to demand that the Assembly pass a resolution against CAA. A resolution moved by DMK chief MK Stalin was refused to be taken up by the Speaker during the Budget session.
Earlier, the protest was supposed to take place from Kalaivanar Arangam to the Secretariat. However, the Madras High Court did not grant permission to carry out the march. Muslim groups and political parties were barred from protesting. The protesters will not be undertaking a march to the Secretariat.
The city police reiterated that they have not granted permission for the protest as they claim that the protesters had not taken the mandatory five-day advance permission to hold the protest. Groups in the city have been prohibited from protesting until March 11.
Protests have been ongoing at Chennai’s Old Washermenpet area since Saturday. Men and women from Muslim groups have been staging sit-in protests in the bylanes of Thiruvottiyur High Road, demanding that the state government take a stand against the CAA.
On Wednesday, protesters also hit the streets in Tirupur, Tirunelveli and Madurai, demanding the repeal of the controversial law which has sparked nationwide protests.