Defence Colony, a neighbourhood in Delhi, saw a citizens’ gathering on Sunday for residents to learn about why there is opposition to the Citizenship Act amendments and the National Register of Citizens that the Bharatiya Janata Party has promised to implement.
The gathering was one of many taking place around the country – whether it is tens of thousands marching in Hyderabad or just a handful in neighbourhoods from Assam to Kerala.
The gatherings and protests have sought to push back against changes to India’s Citizenship Act, which the North East fears will change the demographics of their states, while there are fears in the rest of the country that it will be used, along with the NRC as a tool to harass India Muslims.
At the gathering in Defence Colony, the Delhi Police turned out in force – bringing lathis and a policeman to videotape the gathering – despite there being not more than 30 sitting in a park.
The Resident Welfare Association President first told the attendees that “in this colony we don’t like such type of things”, and the police prevented those present from holding up placards or using a mic and a loudspeaker.
As the gathering began discussing what they believed was wrong with the Citizenship Act amendments, a few men turned up and attempted to disrupt proceedings. One insisted that he be allowed to yell over everyone else. Another came jogging towards the crowd shouting, “Jhoot ki dukan band karo.” (Shut down this shop of lies).
Those in the gathering responded by singing the national anthem – though the disrupter continued yelling through the anthem – and then reading out the preamble to the Constitution.