• Protests Across the World Against CAA

    The Citizen Bureau

    January 27, 2020

    Apart from a bad press on issues of citizenship and the economy, the government of India is in the firing line of peoples demonstrations across major cities of the world, including London, Washington, New York, Cape Town, Munich, Warsaw. Campuses have joined in with the list including students from Universities in Poland, US, UK, Finland to name just a few with the numbers increasing from ones and twos to the hundreds.

    Media reports quote Indians abroad expressing solidarity with the protests in India, with CAA becoming a major point of controversy. Republic Day not only say lakhs gathering at Shaheen Bagh and 70 lakhs participating in a human chain in Kerala, but found an echo in street demonstrations in world capitals as well. Interestingly, several students started an impromptu protest (see video) at the Jaipur Literary Festival with a large audience to join in some of the songs and slogans against CAA.

    The anti-CAA protests have had an impact on lawmakers over the last week. As many as 626 members of 751 European Union have moved six resolutions against CAA as well as the clampdown on Jammu and Kashmir.This follows 150 EU lawmakers who in a resolution have accused the government of India of "discriminating against, harassing and prosecuting national and religious minorities and silencing any opposition, human rights groups… and journalists critical of the government". The lawmakers urged EU to insist on a "strong human rights clause with an effective implementation and suspension mechanism" during any trade agreement.

    This five page resolution is to be tabled during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels in a few days. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the EU summit in response to an earlier invitation. Sources in New Delhi dismissed the EU resolutions saying that the issue is “entirely internal to India” and has the backing of both Houses of Parliament.

    Several British MPs attended a meeting organized by Ambedkar International Mission (UK) and the South Asia Solidarity Group in the UK Parliament (House of Commons) in London last week on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register and the protests across India. The meeting was organised by Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham (Labour) where he said, “I have been struck by the diversity of the people who are protesting against these measures in India in my constituency. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs are all coming together’. He stated that he has written to the UK Foreign Office urging it to take a stand and has also written to the Indian High Commission expressing his deep concern about the CAA-NRC-NPR and their impact. He also recounted that he was a frequent visitor to a Hindu temple in his constituency, but he was shocked when some of his Indian constituents told him that they had been told at the temple that they were ‘not allowed’ to vote Labour during the 2019 UK elections.

    Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East (Labour) pledged to call on PM Modi to revoke the discriminatory CAA which violates human rights. She also spoke about the ‘unprecedented hate campaign’ she faced in the UK election 2019. Despite this she was elected from her constituency which has a large Indian community.

    Pat McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East (Labour) expressed his concern about the way the Conservative Party had blocked the implementation of legislation outlawing caste discrimination in the UK, under pressure from pro-Hindutva organisations.

    The meeting was also attended by John Hilary Head of International Liaison of the Labour Party.

    Labour Party representatives were also reminded that the BJP had actively campaigned for the Conservatives in the December General Election and that they needed to take a position on this.

    Several of the MPs said that they would table an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for the CAA and NRC/NPR to be discussed in Parliament. Speakers included Amrit Wilson, lawyer Gautam Bhatia, Satpal Muman and others.

    Courtesy: The Hindu

    In Washington, while the Indian embassy carried out a formal ceremony on Republic Day, scores of Indian gathered outside the White House as part of a people call for ‘Day of Action’ across at least 30 cities in the US. Shouting ‘bharat mata ki jai’ and singing ‘sare jahan se accha’ the protesters marched from the White House to the Indian embassy demanding sanctions against India’s Home Minister Amit Shah. The embassy dismissed the protests with sources reiterating that the CAA was passed by Parliament. Shah has made it clear that there is no question of revoking CAA or for that matter the NPR and NRC.


    First published in The Citizen.

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