“CAA has directly attacked the Muslims but also has backstabbed the Hindus”: Columnist Sivasundar during protest opposing Citizenship Amendment Act3 min read
MANIPAL: On December 17, a day before the Supreme Court’s hearing on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), a massive protest was staged by the District Muslim League in association with Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (DSS), Komu Souharda Vedike and Communist Party of India (Marxist) outside the DC Office. The protest came days after one organised by the Student Islamic Organization (SIO) and the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
Prominent personalities who spoke during the event were former Ministers of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Pramod Madwaraj, U R Sabhapati and Vinay Kumar Sorake, acclaimed columnist Sivasundar, Yaseen Malpe, Veronica Cornelio, Amrith Shenoy, and Samvartha Sahil amongst others. Protestors enthusiastically chanted messages of dissent against the government and the legislation.
Speaking during the event, columnist Sivasundar pressed on the fact that the CAA is not a standalone Act but is followed by the National Register of Citizens of India (NRC), and said that by understanding the intricacies of the NRC one could evaluate the true impact of the CAA on people. “CAA has directly attacked the Muslims but has also backstabbed the Hindus,” he claimed, as he explained how the Act influenced every citizen of the country. He laid down the due process of the NRC and informed that the procedure required every citizen to prove their ancestry and proof of residence in the country before a cut-off date, by producing documents that may include land records, birth certificates, and school certificates. He further added that a lot of discrepancies could arise as more than 20% of Indians have no birth certificates. Additionally, the illiterate population would not possess any academic certificates and it would be extremely difficult for Adivasis and Dalits to procure land documents. “The Government that has taken your vote is asking you to prove your citizenship!” he exclaimed, as he expressed that the legislation was a war waged on the people of India. He also highlighted that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) regarded the CAA as being “fundamentally discriminatory in nature” and appearing to “undermine the commitment to equality.”
During the protest, former MLA of Udupi, Pramod Madhwaraj, along with State vice-president of Karnataka Rashtriya Samiti, Amrith Shenoy, pledged to boycott the NRC and not produce documents to the government to prove citizenship. Speaking during the event, Pramod Madhwaraj highlighted that during the Babri Masjid incident, Muslim League leader Syed Muhammedali Shihab Thangal ensured that none of the temples in Kerala were disturbed and that it is now the responsibility of the Hindus to fight for the rights of the Muslims. Amrith Shenoy commented on the hypocrisy of the youth saying that many wish to work in Middle Eastern countries and secular democracies like the UK but push for fundamentalist ideas in their home country.
Yaseen Malpe expressed distaste regarding the allocation of space for the protest that could not adequately fit the overfull crowd while also thanking district authorities and the police department for their cooperation. The event concluded with a recitation of poems and sloganeering by Samvartha Sahil.
Featured Image Courtesy: Harleen Kaur
Edited by: Karthika Venugopal