Kolkata: At a time when political leaders were busy in the Parliament debating on Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) as it was introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah, Kavita Krishnan along with other CPIML leaders were briskly walking down Creek Row Kolkata, to assemble at Raja Subodh Mullick Square, where firebrand leader – Kannan Gopinathan had already reached to flag off the Anti-National Register for Citizenship (NRC) and Anti-CAB rally called by the Joint Forum Against NRC.
The rally concluded at Rani Rashmoni Road, where the youth leaders and members of the forum not just addressed a huge gathering but also tore apart the myths associated with CAB and NRC.
“The Muslims are lucky, as they know the anti-Muslim government stand. They are getting their documents in place. But what about the millions of Hindus who are believing the government? They are definitely being taken for a ride. For when the law is passed, the officials you meet will only believe in the documents your produce. So, despite being an Indian Hindu, you will first be termed as an illegal migrant, your citizenship will be stripped away, following which you would need to apply for it (citizenship) and then like a lollipop, you will be given your Indian status,” explained Kannan.
He went on to say, “Unlike many who accuse this government of being fascist, I would like to call them foolish, for they don’t know what to do while executing their agenda. Look, during demonetisation, we all supported Modi and his government. But what happened? Did the money come back? On the contrary, RBI has recently announced that they are no longer printing Rs 2000 notes, as too many fake 2000 notes of good quality are in circulation. They introduced GST, but then look at the end result?”
As the audience burst into laughter, Kannan, continued, “Then came NRC in Assam. The result is out – the NRC process executed in Assam, for which INR 1600 crore gathered from tax-payers money was used, stands nullified. Fresh NRC will take place in Assam along with the now much-hyped NRIC, which they plan to have it executed sometime soon. But what next, on identifying the so-called infiltrators? The government, in this case, is also, like a headless chicken, running around knowing not what to do next.
Taking on from Kanan, was CPI-ML leader and women right activist, Kavita Krishnan. She chose to warn the common man, against the divisive policy of the present regime. Kavita said, “Ghar agar padosi ka jalega
Following her, taking on the dais was youth leader Kanhaiya Kumar, he said, “Let me remind you all that it was Savarkar who wrote to the British monarch, asking them to not leave India and even if they did then the King of Nepal be made the ruler of India so that India stays a Hindu Rashtra. It was Jinnah and Savarkar who proposed the two-nation theory. And let me tell you, neither Jinnah was a practicing Muslim, nor Savarkar a practicing Hindu.”
As the audience applauded, Kahaiya declared, “We need to reject NRC, CAB and NPR as all three are unconstitutional. History is a witness to this fact that every time that there is a mass movement, civil disobedience or non-cooperation movement, the government have had to give in.”
Kanhaiya, even sarcastically, said, “Most of the Hindutva supporters call for Akhand Bharat comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. Then if some people from these neighbouring countries have come into India, shouldn’t they be accepted?”
Echoing a similar sentiment were almost all speakers, at the anti-NRC event. Addressing the crowd, Prasenjit Bose, Convener of Joint Forum Against NRC said, “Our protest will continue till everyone left out of NRC list in Assam are given citizenship. NPR, NRC and CAB need to scrapped immediately as they are unconstitutional.”
While co-convener of the Forum, Deborshi Chakraborty, said, “We till now have not said a word against the state government, as we want to believe CM Mamata Banerjee’s claim of not implementing NRC in Bengal. But given the fact that detention centres are coming up in our state, and the recent ads, that is trying to pass off NPR as a normal census, is not in the right taste. This is the land of revolutionaries, of freedom fighters, and let me tell, you all, if NRC is implemented in Bengal, we will be out on the streets and fight tooth and nail for our rights. Let us not forget, no movement has taken place under political banners but have been initiated by common people like us.”
Saradindu Uddipan of Jai Bhim Network, reminded the crowd, that it is the poor and tribal and adivasis who will be the worst affected. “According to a survey done by us only 20 per cent adivasis have documents. What will happen to the remaining 80 per cent? Do the indigenous people of India have to prove their country of origin? We reject this law, which aims to divide India once again in the name of religion and ethnicity.”
The rally marked the culmination of the Pahaad Theke Sagar (From the Mountain to the Sea) campaign flagged off by Joint Forum Against NRC. The month-long campaign saw the social activists and leaders campaigning across Bengal to drum up but awareness and support for the anti-NRC movement in India.