Yesterday, December 19, called for a nation-wide protest against the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). It was also freedom fighters, Ramprasad Bismil and Ashfaqulla Khan's martyrdom day, the two legendary leaders fought long and hard for Hindu-Muslim unity. The Act seeks to amend the definition of 'illegal immigrant' for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, who have lived in India without documentation. They will be granted fast-tracked citizenship in six years. Muslims have been excluded from the list, making religion the basis for citizenship.
Along with the NRC, the National Register of Citizens, which is a citizenship list that is part of the government's effort to identify and weed out people it claims are illegal immigrants in the northeast state of Assam. By relaxing the conditions for citizenship for members of the six communities mentioned, the CAA gives them a second chance to claim citizenship. However, the home minister, Amit Shah, has announced that the NRC will soon be implemented in the entire country. This puts Muslims all over the country who have a lack of documentary evidence required for the NRC at risk.
There have been similar concerns extended to other groups like Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who have been residing in Tamil Nadu for decades and are not covered in the latest amendments. And the Rohingyas, an ethnic group facing genocidal violence in their home country of Myanmar, are excluded from the CAA. Shah has previously said that India will not be providing asylum for Rohingyas.
In Delhi, the protests against the CAA started from Jamia Millia Islamia and then in UP at Aligarh Muslim University on December 15. People also took to the streets to stand in solidarity with students from Jamia Milia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University who were bruised and broken by the police brutality on campuses.
Over the past few days, Bollywood celebrities have also voiced their opinions to lend their support to the students, proving once and for all, 'hum ek hai'. They've shared tweets, condemning the government's suppression of free speech and are using their social media platforms to remind citizens to protest without violence. From Konkana Sen Sharma and Parineeti Chopra to Anurag Kashyap and Alia Bhatt, many Bollywood biggies have taken to social media to express what their opinion.
Protesting and voicing their naras alongside fellow citizens, these Bollywood stars turned up and spoke against divisive politics. Some joined the lakhs of people on the streets at August Kranti Marg in Mumbai while others took part in protests in their hometowns.
Along with thousands of protestors Prem Ratan Dhan Payo actor, Swara Bhasker, on Thursday took part in a demonstration against the amended Citizenship Act and questioned the requirement of such law in the country. She told ANI, "There is no need for CAA or NRC in this country. You have the process of granting citizenship to refugees and If you can grant citizenship to Adnan Sami on that basis then why can't you grant citizenship to Hindu refugees on the basis of that same process? Why do you have to change the constitution."
On this day she remembered Mahatma Gandhi and his vision for the country. She added, "There is a difference between opposing and abusing. This is ideological opposition, Gandhi Ji also did ideological opposition. We are raising slogans of ideological opposition. This is part of the democratic opposition, there is no problem in such protests."
Swara even got on stage and took over with slogans like "Awaaz Do" and "Halla Bol".
Actor and filmmaker Farhan Akhtar also spoke to the media and said that protesting against something is a democratic right and there seemed to be a "certain amount of discrimination in what has been planned and what is happening." He also added that as a citizen of the nation and having grown up with a certain perspective of India, he felt it was important for him to raise his voice. The Bhaag Milkha Bhaag star also pointed out that so many people wouldn't have taken to the streets in protest if something wasn't wrong.
Jim Sarbh came for the march in Mumbai and shared a powerful picture of over a lakh Mumbaikers flooding the streets. He had earlier shared infographics simplifying the CAA and NRC for people too.
Kollywood actor, Siddharth also came out on the streets of Chennai at Valluvar Kottam where the protestors had gathered from 3:00 PM onwards to demonstrate against the CAA and NRC. He also reiterated that the CAA has given the government the right to decide who is persecuted based on their religion. Now, there are reports that the Rang De Basanti star has been named in the FIR lodged by the Chennai police along with 600 others.
Met this little protestor at August Kranti Maidan. The voice of people is loud and clear 🇮🇳#NoViolenceButNoSilence Thank you @MumbaiPolice for doing a great job at helping in organise a peaceful protest. Jai Maharashtra! Jai Hind ! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/rkVu50BI3x— Huma S Qureshi (@humasqureshi) December 19, 2019
Huma Qureshi also protested on the streets and has been anti-CAA since the beginning. She even took to Twitter to school someone who hurled abuses at her.
Anurag Kashyap had earlier taken to social media and shared his anti-CAA views. He, too, was there at the August Kranti Marg protest with posters and later even lauded the citizens for turning up in such large numbers.
TV actor Sushant Singh and former host of Savdhaan India was also seen protesting in Mumbai. He had earlier shared tweets about his opinion on the Act. Taking to the stage he said, "Awaaz dabayi nahi jani chahiye, violence nahi honi chahiye. Suniye, baatcheet ho. Dono paksh mein se jo bhi galat hai, aapas mein baith kar baatcheet karenge tabhi toh pata chalega. That's what I have been requesting. I am happy, sabko saath dekh kar bahut khush hoon main."
When asked why his contract with the popular show was terminated, Sushant said, "I still don't know why my contract ended. People are connecting it with my participation in the protests but even I want to know the reason but haven't yet got the answer."
Actor Jaaved Jaaferi was also present with his fellow Mumbaikers to make his voice heard against the CAA and against Delhi police doing a lathi-charge and using tear gas on innocent students inside the university premises.
Bollywood filmmaker, best known for making the movie Rang De Basanti was also there at August Kranti Maidaan to support protestors. He even took to the stage and praised the nation for coming together as a whole to celebrate our unity in diversity.
Was all charged up and ready to go. Shoot delayed me. But not sad !— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) December 19, 2019
Hope is the difference between the living and the dead ! Tonight, we have HOPE. Oh Mazhi karmabhoomi Mumbai, mee mandal abhaari hai !
Aapla dhanyavaad @MumbaiPolice ! https://t.co/AeCqE8aiMI pic.twitter.com/LWUMqqbYYp
Richa Chadha was all set to go for the protest, however, due to her shoot getting delayed she could not be there. She had even painted her tee with a Gandhi Ji figure. We're sure protestors around the country felt the support, Richa.
While it was great to see known faces take a stand, the heroes of the movement were the youth. And now the youth of the country is saying that they "we will not be silenced."
Featured Image: Instagram
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