A ‘Million March’ in the heart of Hyderabad against citizenship Amendment Act

People from all walks of life, religions, community, men, women, children, people even in their seventies, daily earners came out to protest. 

Hundreds of protesters carrying the Indian tricolour flag took part in a peaceful march chanting the slogan against Narendra Modi’s new Citizenship law. The protest, dubbed the ‘Million March’, was organised by an umbrella group of Muslim and civil society organisations. More than 40 per cent of Hyderabad’s estimated population of nearly 7 million are Muslims.

Hyderabad witnessed a sea of people at the protest site of Dharna Chowk as early as 10AM. People from all walks of life, religions, community, men, women, children, people even in their seventies, daily wage earners came out to protest.

People left behind their jobs and came out to protest. “We are not concerned about the results this march would yield. We do not know if our protests are heard by the leaders who sit at the Centre. But when the government threatens us to prove our citizenship, it is our duty that we take to the streets and fight for our rights,” a middle-aged woman, mentioned while interviewing.

Police had only given permission for a smaller gathering of 1000 people but that didn’t defy people and many were coming till late afternoon.

“First, they implemented demonetisation. Now, they are forcing a citizen as old as I am, to protest against an Act which will ask us to prove our citizenship. Why does our Prime Minister want us to wait all day long in queues in hope of documents and papers that will prove we are indeed citizens of this country? We hardly earn enough working hard every day and now this government will force us to leave behind our jobs and wait in queues,” Hussain says.

Women, including housewives and the elderly, too gathered in large numbers and occupied space inside the stadium, chanting slogans and urging more women to join them. While many women were seen leading marches, there were also young mothers who sat at the protest venue along with their toddlers.

The new law eases the path for non-Muslim minorities from the neighbouring Muslim-majority nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to gain Indian citizenship. But, if combined with a proposed national register of citizens, critics of the CAA fear it will discriminate against minority Muslims in India and chip away at India’s secular constitution.

Modi government has been facing its hardest opposition from the Indian population since it came to power in 2014. At least 25 people have been killed in protest-related clashes with police since early December.

 

 

 

 

 

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