“I am a soldier of the Indian Constitution”: Chandrashekar Azad, at massive protest-conference in Udupi3 min read
MANIPAL: “We the people of India”, a massive protest-cum-conference against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) was held at the Christian High School grounds in Udupi on January 30. The conference, amidst tight security and police observation, was organised by Sahabalve, Udupi and saw close to ten thousand people in attendance.
Many local and national activists took to the stage to criticise the actions of the government and to reiterate the strength and resolve of Indian unity against religious discrimination. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad addressed the crowd via video call. “I salute every revolutionary and friend in Udupi for fighting to save the people. I am a soldier of the Indian Constitution. To protect it, I am fighting those who brazenly go against it,” he said. He remarked that throughout India’s history, whenever the public opposed and protested something, governments and even invaders have budged to their will. He urged people to show their opposition as it was the need of the hour.
Kavitha Reddy, a local activist, spoke to the crowd saying, “We must absolutely be victorious. There is no room for failure. Only one method is left to win this battle: we must teach them a lesson in the Indian Constitution. Today, Modi has done three good things: the first is to bring this country together in unity [against him], the second is to bring Muslim women who were cooking all their lives, to the forefront of this battle to make passionate speeches, and the third is to bring the Constitution and the tricolour to every street and alleyway. This is the strength of India!”
Amongst the spectrum of speakers was Amulya Leona, activist and journalism student. When asked how she felt about orating to the audience, she said, “I think it’s a good thing for Udupi that this happened. We all know what recently happened in Mangalore and the kind of communal tension there is in Udupi. This sends a great message to a lot of people saying that irrespective of whatever idea they are holding in their brains, there are too many people against that idea. Nobody wants violence. Everybody wants non-violence, and this just goes to show that.” She added that the ongoing debate is not against Hindus or Muslims, but rather is a battle against discrimination.
The commotions ignited in the recent few weeks have put India on the map for student-police tensions. The events at colleges like Jamia Millia Islamia have started debacles on the extent of police brutality and mismanagement in the country. A constitutional activist, Najma Nazir spoke of hypocrisy from the government. She said, “Those who protest injustice against Indian citizens in this country are detained, while on the other hand, those ABVP goons are attacking students. Just a few hours ago someone started shooting at students with a gun at Jamia Millia and police are looking the other way.”
Previously, a street rally march preceding the conference was in plans. The district police allegedly detained permission for this.
The speakers delivered their keynotes on a roll. Ramesh Kumar, the former speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, validated today’s struggle by taking the crowd through India’s vibrant history and fight for independence. The final speaker was Mahendra Kumar, a former Bajrang Dal member who spoke against the Hindutva values of extreme right-wing organisations in the country with his own personal experiences.
Throughout the event, calm was maintained. The national anthem and patriotic songs were sung, along with a recitation of the Constitution’s preamble.
Featured Image Courtesy – Sirish N
Edited by – Vaibhavi Vaman