All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday chastised Union minister Anurag Thakur for encouraging the audience at a rally to shout “shoot the traitors” slogan, and challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party leader to specify the place where he would want to shoot him, ANI reported.
“I challenge you Anurag Thakur, to pick a place in India where you will shoot me and I am ready to come there,” the Hyderabad MP said at a rally in Mumbai’s Jhula ground. “Your statements will not create fear in my heart because our mothers and sisters have come out in large numbers on the roads. They have decided to save the country.”
Owaisi read out the Preamble to the Indian Constitution in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and made the crowd repeat it after him, PTI reported. He also urged his party workers to pressurise the Maharashtra government to pass a resolution against the amended law in the Assembly.
“The BJP and the Sangh Parivar will be defeated in their nefarious designs,” Owaisi said.
The Hyderabad MP also challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to debate with him on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens. “The prime minister is lying on NPR and NRC,” said Owaisi. “I am challenging the prime minister. Don’t debate with Rahul Gandhi or Mamata Banerjee. Let us two bearded men sit and debate and I challenge that you won’t be able to answer even one question.”
People from various communities, including Dalits, Christians, Parsis, participated in the rally.
Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act are continuing across the country, more than a month after it was passed in Parliament. The amendments, notified on January 10, provide citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam.
The government’s critics and some protestors fear that the amended law and the National Register of Citizens will be misused to target Muslims since the Citizenship Act now has religion as a criterion. There are now fears that a nation-wide National Register of Citizens will be imposed. The Assam NRC had left out around 6% of the state’s population. Work has also begun on the National Population Register, which is the first step to creating an all-Indian NRC identifying undocumented migrants residing in India.
Bahujan Kranti Morcha block rail tracks
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, members of Bahujan Kranti Morcha blocked railway tracks in Kanjurmarg station during a protest against the amended citizenship law and National Register of Citizens, ANI reported.
The organisation called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Wednesday. Local train services were affected briefly.
Kolkata’s Shaheen Bagh like protest enters 23rd day
The continuous sit-in at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi has become the model for the protests against the amended law.
In Kolkata’s Park Circus Maidan, the demonstrations by 60 Muslim women entered its 23rd day on Wednesday. “Our only identity is that we are Indians, and we are women, who cannot be threatened by any force,” Parveen Nazir, one of the protestors, told PTI.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Union minister P Chidambaram had recently visited the protest site.
At least 100 women in Mumbai’s Nagpada area also continued with their protests since January 26 against the amended citizenship law. Protestors occupied a side road outside a hotel.
The police’s efforts to break the protest have not been successful yet.
West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party President Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday wondered why nobody had died during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh, despite very cold weather.
The BJP leader claimed there might be a motive behind the protests. “People are very excited about Shaheen Bagh because women and children are protesting there day and night,” he said. “Some say they are getting Rs 500 every day. This may or may not be the case. But the truth about the Popular Front of India has come out. The truth about Shaheen Bagh will also emerge.”
The protests at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh have become a focal point for the BJP recently, especially ahead of elections in the Capital on February 8. Several BJP leaders have incorporated the protests into their election speeches and have lashed out at the demonstrators there, including Home Minister Amit Shah.
Students of Calcutta University in West Bengal on Tuesday allegedly prevented Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar from chairing a convocation programme that was attended by Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee. Dhankhar left the university without attending the convocation, after sitting in backstage for an hour. Calcutta University conferred an honorary doctorate on Banerjee.