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01 February 2020

CAA Issue: Protestor appears in ‘Kafan’ in Bhopal during Bharat Bandh

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The intended fall out of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was visible when Bharat Bandh on Wednesday, January 29 was observed. The bandh which evoked mixed response in Madhya Pradesh as elsewhere in the country must have warmed the cockles of the heart of the ruling BJP at the Centre while seeing non-Muslims defying the bandh call and going on with their business as usual.

Bharat Bandh call was given by Bahujan Kranti Morcha against NRC (National Register of Citizen) which was supported by many organisations.

BJP wants to marginalise the Muslims and implement its agenda of replacing Indian Constitution with Manusmriti by 2024. The ruling Hindutva party under the supreme guidance of its parent organization RSS wants to ultimately declare India as a Hindu Rashtra.

Meanwhile, in the evening at the end of Bharat Bandh thousands of protestors gathered at the historic Iqbal Maidan and raised slogans against the CAA and NRC. Anti-CAA rallies from different organisations including Bahujan Kranti Morcha from different parts of city converged at the venue wherein since January 1, 2020 round the clock“Satyagrah”is in place heralded by youth and women in particular against CAA-NPR-NRC.

Dr. Ghani Ahmad Khan, a retired government official was among the protesters present wrapped in a “Kafan” (shroud) at Iqbal Maidan. He appeared on the scene with a poster which read: “Ready to Accept Kafan, Not Ready to Leave Our Watan India”. He fervently declared that he has come to the venue wearing “Kafan” after completing all his worldly and family liabilities and ready to kiss death for the cause withdrawal of CAA-NP-NRC. Local MLA Arif Masood and leaders of various outfits also addressed the gathering.

The protestors demanded to recall the law in favour of communal harmony of the nation and also to respect the Constitution which teaches the countrymen that they are not divided in caste or religion. The protestors had placards and black balloons in their hands stating ‘No NRC, No CAA’.

In Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, most of the shops of old city area like Chowk Bazaar, Peer Gate, Lakherapura and other areas remained open. However, in Muslim localities the bandh witnessed more support with most shops closed. On the other hand, the shops of the New Market, MP Nagar and Bittan Market and other remained opened as usual, but the shoppers did not reach those shops. The movement of shoppers was less than normal in both the old and new city. Sources said that some shops were closed for personal reasons, but they declaring their support to CAA and NRC by affixing posters.

Few of women along with the children also made a human chain carrying the posters ‘No CAA, No NRC’. The traffic on city roads was less to the average as of other days, and also the local transport affected as the commuters were in less in number.

[Pervez Bari is a Senior Journalist based in Bhopal. He can be reached at pervezbari@yahoo.co.in]

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