‘Black Acts’: Urmila compares CAA 2019 to Rowlatt Act 1919 at meet

Actress Urmila Matondkar at a public meeting against CAA, NRC and NPR, organised by Maharashtra Gandhi Smarak Samidhi at Gandhi Bhavan. (Express photo: Arul Horizon)

ACTRESS Urmila Matondkar on Thursday compared the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) to the Rowlatt Act of 1919 at a public meeting called ‘Non-violent people’s movement against CAA, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR)’, organised to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary.

“The Rowlatt Act of 1919 and the CAA of 2019 are the two acts that will be addressed as ‘black Acts’ in history. The CAA is against poor people. The Act as being stated is of course anti-Muslim. We do not want an Act which ascertains my identity and citizenship on the basis of religion. It is in our Constitution that you cannot discriminate on the basis of religion, language, gender or region,” Matondkar said.

The British government had passed the infamous Rowlatt Act in 1919, giving enormous powers to the police to arrest any person without giving any reason, in an effort to curb the growing nationalist upsurge in the country.

Gandhi had protested against this oppressive Act by calling people to launch a satyagraha against it.

Human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, Bishop Thomas Dabre and Kumar Saptarshi, president, Maharashtra Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, also addressed the public meeting at Gandhi Bhavan in Kothrud on Thursday.

Setalvad talked about Gandhi’s assasination by Nathuram Godse and said “Hindutva forces never agreed to a republic and secular state”.

“Whereas Gandhi, a symbol of both, said India will remain secular and there will be

no correlation between Raj, politics and religion,” she added.

Hindutva outfit activists detained

Police detained 20 activists of the radical Hindutva outfit, Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), while they were sloganeering at a protest staged by them to oppose the public meeting. Senior Inspector Pratibha Joshi said while some activists had been detained, attempts were on to nab more.

The outfit, headed by Dhananjay Desai, who is also an accused in the 2014 murder of engineer Mohsin Shaikh, had submitted a letter to the police on Wednesday, asking them to not give permission for the public meeting at Gandhi Bhavan. in the anti-CAA protest, the HRS stated that protesters had “waged a war on the country”. The outfit had threatened to disrupt the meeting if the police allowed it.