Dr Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui for BeyondHeadlines
“If you want to fire bullets, fire. Your bullets would finish, but my love for India would not end. I am Indian by choice and also by birth. My endeavour is to not hit but save the country,” A distraught Asaduddin Owaisi, MP, challenged the trigger-happy police. The All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen, the president, spoke at a protest meet against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) organized by Telangana State’s United Muslim Action Committee in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Asad Owaisi clarified that the fight of Indian Muslims is for respect as they are being doubted even after 70 years, which, he termed, is an insult. The on-going fight against the new citizenship law is “not just the issue of Muslims” but concerns all Indians and there should be a sustained struggle against the legislation, he urged.
Barrister Owaisi argued that the campaign is to “save” the Constitution. He made a passionate appeal to all Indians, who are against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and CAA to hoist the national flag on their homes from Sunday. This, he said, will send out a message against the “fascist forces” and that it is the house of someone who loved his country.
An admirer of the Indian Constitution Asad Owaisi read out the Preamble of the Constitution. He asked the thousands of protestors, who had assembled despite the biting cold, to repeat the Preamble. He asked them to not resort to any kind of violence. “Why are we protesting? We are protesting because, in this country, in the name of religion, preparation is being made to make us not just second-class citizens but stateless,” he cautioned. He believed that it is a loss for everyone.
Igniting the fire in the protestors’ bellies, Asad Owaisi opined that the fight is not over with just one meeting. He wanted the same momentum to be kept alive for at least six-seven months. He categorically stressed on ensuring that the agitation remains non-violent for it to achieve its desired goal.
Senior Parliamentarian Asad Owaisi urged Prime Minister Modi to remove the word “religion” from “religious minorities” while granting citizenship to refugees under CAA. It is wrong to make laws on the basis of religion, he observed.
The vice-chancellors of Jamia Millia and Aligarh Muslim University were at the receiving end as Asad Owaisi slammed the Aligarh Muslim University vice chancellor for allegedly writing to police to use “appropriate force” on protesters. He lambasted the Jamia Millia Islamia vice chancellor Najma Akhtar and claimed that her loyalty was not towards the students but towards the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS).
Asad Owaisi expressed his gratitude to the government of K Chandrasekhar Rao in Telangana for having opposed the CAB in parliament. He further urged him to stay the implementation of the National Population Register (NPR) on the lines of Kerala and West Bengal governments. He asked his close friend Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy to reconsider his support to the NDA government on CAA.
Apart from Asad Owaisi, a number of prominent people spoke and protested strongly against the CAA. The speakers included human rights lawyer from Assam, Abdul Wadud Aman, face of CAA protests Aisha Renna – Ladeeda Farzana, historian Captain Panduranga Reddy, Advocate Sindhya, Moulana Hamed Mohammed Khan, president, Jamat e Islami Hind, Telanagana, social activist Dr Chiranjeevi, Sharat Chamar, Majlis’ student leader from Osmania University, Gopi Swamy, student leader from Hyderabad Central University. Others who spoke included Ulema and Mashaeqeen.
The highlight of the protest meeting was that it began with the national anthem and the national flags were visible in large number at the venue.