Students, Chandigarh residents join forces against Citizenship Act
Hordes of protesters walk from Panjab University campus to Sector 17, demanding rollback of the act; claim it is against the secular fabric of the nationUpdated: Dec 20, 2019 16:09 IST
Hundreds of people, including students of Panjab University and city residents, participated in Chandigarh’s first major protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Thursday.
The call for the protest march was given by an amalgam of student organisations of Panjab University(PU), including Students For Society (SFS), National Students Union of India (NSUI), All India Students Association (AISA), Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), Panjab Students Union (PSU) Lalkaar, among others. They were supported by various citizen groups.
The protest rally, which started from PU campus in Sector 14 and concluded at Sector 17, came a day after ABVP activists held a rally at the varsity in support of the Act.
As protesters rallied towards Sector 17, over 3km away, raising their voice through placards, hundreds of cops flanked them to maintain law and order.
Raising slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and its decision to introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, the protesting students demanded the Act be rolled back, as it was against the secular fabric of the nation.
Residents also denounced the introduction of the Act. “The new law is not only a concern for students, but also for every citizen of the country. The Act is against the idea of a secular India. Our Constitution does not allow framing of an Act on the basis of religion,” said advocate Rajiv Godara.
As the rally reached Sector 17, the massive gathering was addressed by several students and senior citizens, who also criticised the attack on students at Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi.
Former Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC) president Kanupriya said, “Chandigarh led by its students has proven once again that the idea of a Hindu Rashtra by the BJP and RSS will be smashed. With the abrogation of Article 370, amending the CAA and planning nationwide NRC, the government has left no stone unturned to communalise the country. It is high time for all of us to build organised solidarity.”
Mujahid Ul Islam, a resident of Sector 20, who addressed the rally, said, “Secularism is still alive in India. People from every religion fought for the country’s Independence. This nation belongs to all and we will stand united forever.”
“BR Ambedkar said if Hindu Raj becomes a reality then it would be greatest menace to this country. Police’s brutal attack on Jamia Millia Islamia students is a violation the freedom of speech,” said a student associated with the Ambedkar Students Association.
Another protest was held by the members of the Muslim community at the Sector 20 Jama Masjid, against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens.
The protesters intended to march towards Punjab governor’s house, but were stopped by nearly 200 cops deployed at the spot. Almost all roads leading to Sector 20 mosque were cordoned off by the police, causing traffic chaos. Most of the participants reached the protest site on foot.
Later, a 21-member contingent submitted a memorandum to Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore, expressing their resentment against CAA and NRC. They were accompanied by deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Dilsher Singh Chandel.
Protesters gathered at the ground opposite the mosque raised slogans against the central government’s decision to provide citizenship to only members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who entered India before December 31, 2014, following religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
“The government is trying to kill the democratic set-up of the country. We strongly oppose this new Act,” said a protester at the event, as others raises slogans demanding roll back of the Act.
As many as nine Jain organisations came out in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act on Thursday.
Representatives of the Jain Mahasangh Tricity, Shri Digambar Jain Society, Sector 27, Shri SS Jain Sabha, Sector 18, Shri Atmanand Jain Sabha, Sector 28, Shri Jain Swetambar Terapanth Sabha, Sector 24, Jain Milan, Ahinsa Seva Samiti, Samaj Sevi Sansthan Pratigya Foundation and Purvanchal Kalyan Sabha, Sector 56, met BJP Chandigarh president Sanjay Tandon to express their gratitude and support for the Act.
The associations’ representatives also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah. They said with this law, Hindu, Jain, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan will get rights of an Indian citizen.
Tandon thanked the delegations and appealed to all Chandigarh residents to maintain peace and brotherhood in the city.