Continuing their protests demanding the repeal of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), scores of people turned up for a public meeting in Jayanagar on Monday, right opposite the office of BJP MP Tejasvi Surya.
The crowd sat at the Shalini Grounds in Jayanagar — many holding the Indian flags and others holding placards like ‘Give us jobs! Not NPR-NRC-CAA’ — eager to hear what local leaders thought about the controversial citizenship laws and exercises. However, the biggest draw was the activist Kavita Krishnan.
Speaking to the crowd, Kavita pointed out how the energy of the protesters has not diminished, and that victory to the protesters is imminent. “People keep asking me, do you think you are making any difference through your protests? What will you get? But I am asking you, a year, or even six months ago, did you think that the whole country will unite and come out to protest like this? Not me. But people kept coming out. This, in itself, is a huge victory!”
She spoke about the Union government’s response to the protests. “Amit Shah is saying that they won’t take a single step back. But they have gone back, a considerable amount of kilometres back, while we keep going ahead, determined that we will not step back until our Constitution is saved.”
Kavita questioned the government’s denial that they ever spoke about NRC. “How have they backed down? Narendra Modi, in his recent speeches, said that he never said anything about NRC. But they were the ones who were talking about the chronology and proclaiming that they will implement NRC across the nation.”
She explained why it is important to understand NPR, and not to comply with it. “The NPR is the first step towards NRC. It is a process that began with the Congress, which is why they are not opposing it, like they should be. But we need to be aware, and not show our papers,” she said, amidst slogans of ‘hum khaagaz nahi dikaaenge’ (we will not show our papers).
Giving an example of Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi, she said that protesters, irrespective of the weather or other conditions, have been energising her to continue her protests. “Will the women sitting in Shaheen go home? No! We won’t stop protesting until we get their demands, and save the Constitution,” she added
Some of the people gathered at the protest meet were also hoping to listen to eminent social activist and freedom fighter, HS Doreswamy. However, he was unable to attend as he has been hospitalised, said the organisers.