Will burn copies of CAA in Ahmedabad on January 10: Jignesh Mevani

Mevani said people from various sections of the society - farmers, fishermen, maldharis, minorities, dalits, adivasis, youth or women - have resolved to launch a non-cooperation movement and decided that none of them will show their documents whenever the government plans to undertake the NPR or NRC exercise.  (Express photo by Renuka Puri/File)

Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani and a number of voluntary organisations of farmers, women, labourers, tribal, fishermen, nomadic & denotified tribes announced that they would burn copies of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at 12 locations in Ahmedabad on January 10 after the BJP government in Gujarat moves a resolution to support the Act in the assembly.

The organisations also resolved to launch a non-cooperation movement against CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) in the state.

The state government has called a special session of Gujarat Assembly on January 10 in which a proposal to support the CAA will be moved. Addressing the mediapersons on behalf of the organisations who held the meeting here Wednesday, Mevani said, “We have come together here under an informal banner of ‘We the People of India’ to protest against a resolution related to CAA that will be passed (in Assembly). W are not going to support CAA, NPR and NRC.”

“The same day when the resolution (supporting CAA) is passed in the Gujarat assembly, our organisations will perform a ‘holi’ of CAA by burning the copies of this black law at 12 locations in Ahmedabad,” Mevani said.

Mevani called the initiatives of the Central Government like CAA, NPR and NRC as a tactic to divert attention from real issues like unemployment, privatisation of education & health, inflation, and selling of public sector units.

Mevani said people from various sections of the society - farmers, fishermen, maldharis, minorities, dalits, adivasis, youth or women - have resolved to launch a non-cooperation movement and decided that none of them will show their documents whenever the government plans to undertake the NPR or NRC exercise. “Jointly, we declare a non-cooperation movement,” he said.

Ashok Chaudhary, a senior tribal from Tapi district of South Gujarat said his family had taken part in the freedom struggle. “After freedom, it was a belief that everybody will feel a sense of independence. However, in the last few years, our rights are being snatched away one after another. Now the situation has come where we are being asked to prove our citizenship. It is an insult... If we have self-respect, we have to oppose this.”

Daxin Chhara, a leader of nomadic & denotified tribes, said it is impossible for any member of his community to have record before 1970. He said the communities have contributed to the freedom struggle and it is an insult to demand documents to prove citizenship from them. He said that the community people are indeed citizens of India whether the government believes it or not.

Wasif Hussain from the Muslim minority community said that had the government not identified specific religions or countries in the CAA, the law would not have faced so much resistance. Wasif said, “So far, the Muslim community was not coming out on roads in protest because it thought that it would lead to polarisation benefiting (certain) people. But now, it has shed that fear because the community feels that if they do not come out on road now, then this country cannot be saved.”

“Muslim community has contributed to the freedom struggle of this country. They have come out on road with an aim to save the country from fascists.”

A number of civil rights and social activists were also part of the meeting that include senior advocate Anand Yagnik, farmer leader Jayesh Patel, former MLA Kanu Kalsariya, Naheda Shaikh, Praful Vasava, Kalpana Gagdekar, Paulomee Mistry, Bhavna Ramrakhiyani, Kausar Ali Saiyed, Subodh Parmar, Bharat Shah and Atish Indrekar.