Syed Azharuddin: In India since Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed and became an Act after the signature of President of India from 11th December 2019 till date millions of citizens registered their protests against the unconstitutional Act which is discriminatory in nature, anti poor and divides the people on bases of religion and hampers the social fabric of India, to protect it and save the basics of constitution of India students begun the protests from Jamia Millia Islamia University New Delhi, followed by AMU Aligarh and MANUU Hyderabad, then many in a row now it becomes the people’s movement. 22 alone were killed by police of Uttar Pradesh, 2 in Mangalore, 4 in Assam by their respective police authorities as people’s were against the government. Firing done by BJP/RSS supporters twice at JMI and once at Shaheenbagh who were influenced by cabinet minister and BJP leaders’ hate speeches. Yet people didn’t fear and continue their protests using various cultural tools with more inspiration to protect the social fabric of India and its beauty in diversity. As the days are passing, BJP led government and its supporters becoming more cruel and letting down their morals too low. Indians across the world are also protesting against the discriminatory and hidden fascist Law called as CAA, which is also directly or indirectly hampering India’s economy. Following three stories of three different cities of India may make you more sad and will touch our conscience to speak for poor, innocent and minors who are future leaders of the nation.
1.The minor students of Shaheen School, Bidar being harassed for acting in satire play on Citizenship Amendment Act.
On 21st January 2020, minor students of Shaheen School, Bidar enacted a play depicting the present insecurity in masses due to recently enacted CAA and announced NPR & NRC process. This “satire play” was performed in deccani accent of Hyderabad Karnataka region but was projected out of proportion by few people.
Soon after the video of this satire play went viral, police booked the school and Management under sections 124(A) – ‘sedition Laws’ and 153(A) – ‘Offence of promoting enmity/disharmony’ of the Indian Penal Code based on complaint filed by the right-wing activist. Later teacher & mother of the student were arrested on 30th Jan.
The serious offences of Sedition & Promoting enmity on a satire play which was only representing the insecurity present in society regarding Discriminatory CAA, NRC & NPR process only shows the biasness in state machinery and blatant use of these draconian British era laws by police against the procedures laid down by Supreme court with regards to filing of Sedition cases. The repeated scenes of interrogation of minor students aged around nine years by Karnataka police against the norms laid down by “Juvinile Justice Act – 2015” that too in absence of parents reflects the insensitivity, prejudiceness and violation of law by police. Interrogation for fourth time in a week and even of minor students who was not part of this particular play is highly condemnable. Strict action should be taken against these police officers, according to law.
Further we need to question the government, cultural tools are means of representation. If a satire play depicting the Discriminatory CAA-NRC-NPR process invites sedition charges & arrest, then how seditious this law & process should be which is creating huge distress & enmity among citizens of country. And what should be the charges on the persons responsible for enacting this very Discriminatory and unconstitutional CAA along with the process of NPR-NRC. The charges of creating enmity and disharmony between the communities only shows the lack of awareness regarding CAA which itself is Discriminatory and creating enmity based on religion and region against the spirit of Indian constitution.
It should be noted that Karnataka Police visited the school for 4th time on 3rd February and had interrogated minor students which shows that Karnataka state police is misusing the law only to harass and create fear in students and parents.These intimidating tactics will not stop the ongoing protest against the unconstitutional CAA rather, they will only strengthen the ongoing movement against the combined package of CAA-NRC-NPR. It clearly shows that state is directly targeting the dissenting voices who are out on streets protesting against this discriminatory and unconstitutional CAA/NPR/NRC which will affect the basic idea of India, if implemented.
2.The death of Sameeda Khatoon, 57 years old from Kolkata, the “first Lady Martyr” who laid her life fighting against Unconstitutional & Discriminatory CAA_NRC_NPR_
Sameeda Khatoon, 57, was suffering from illness for past many days. But her illness didn’t stop her from participating in the ongoing continuous sit-in protest against the unconstitutional and discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register(NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) at Park Circus, Kolkata.
It should be noted that continuous sit-in protest at Park circus, Kolkata, was started on the lines of Shaheen Bagh of Delhi just few days after the Shaheen Bagh of Delhi. It was the first continuous sit-in started outside Delhi. The sit-in at Park circus is named as “Swadhinata Andolan 2.0” which means “Independence Struggle 2.0”.
When we reached Kolkata, the fellow protestors of the Shaheen Bagh at Park Circus, Kolkata and neighbours of Sameeda Khatoon said that she was very determined and use to participate in the ongoing protest despite of her illness. Even the cold weather didn’t deter her from participation. She was one of the many silent and peaceful protestors who are raising their voice in the ongoing sit-in dharna at Park circus.
Sameeda Khatoon fell severely sick around midnight. Soon she was taken to nearby Islamia Hospital for treatment but she didn’t respond to the treatment and at around 1.00am on 2nd February 2020, she was declared dead due to Cardiac arrest. Her funeral was performed later the same day itself at Kolkata. She is the “First Lady Martyr” of ongoing Nationwide Anti-CAA_NRC_NPR protests. It should be recalled that more than 30 people had sacrificed their lives in ongoing pan India protest against CAA_NRC_NPR, especially in police violence and brutality.
Thousands of fellow protestors across the nation condoling her death said that we can’t let her sacrifice go in vain and we will not forget it. We stand by his family in this hours of grief. We will continue the struggle till this discriminatory law is taken back.
The Government should at least come forward now and scrap the Discriminatory CAA and stop the plans of implementing NPR_NRC in our country which has created so much insecurity and caused loss of precious human lives so far, protestors also asked government authorities to rename the historic Park Circus Maidan to Sameeda Maidan remembering Sameeda Khatoon’s sacrifice.
3.Students and Youth were emotional on the death of 2months baby
Despite of poor family background, the mother of small baby used to participate daily in Jamia protest outside Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi which is iconic university to begin the protest against unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. The Mother of two 3-years’ boy and one 1-year-old girl use to come every day to register her protest.
On 29th January, 2020 early morning the baby girl whose age was around 1 year was not responding, parents after noticing took her to nearest Al Shifa hospital where She was declared brought dead and doctors informed the baby lost her last breath 6 hours before.
Earlier the family was not willing to circulate the news of death of the baby child, later many well wishers announced and hundreds of students and youth who were protesting every day felt sorry for the loss of a beautiful soul, who is considered to be the youngest Martyr in the movement against CAA NRC and NPR.
The brave mother, when asked, said that she will again join the protests at Jamia soon after recovering from this trauma in another two-three days. Her name is not disclosed here for the very same reason and she requested the students to continue the struggle and pressurise the government to revoke CAA 2019 and stop the process of NPR.
Even after this huge loss of human, resources, capital and time of millions, will the servants of the nation who are leading the government keep their ego aside and roll back Citizenship Amendment Act 2019? Question remains unanswered…!
Syed Azharuddin is a student activists and scholar. Views are personal.