Kolkata: On Republic Day, 11-km human chain to be formed to protest CAA, NRC

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According to the organisers, the 11-km chain will be formed to “uphold and safeguard” the Constitution of India, which will complete 70 years. (Express photo: Shashi Ghosh)

Several organisations, including political parties, will step up their protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) during the Republic Day celebrations on Sunday.

United Interfaith Foundation India (UIFI), an inter-faith group comprising leaders of different religious communities in the state, will join hands with the residents of Kolkata, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, to form a human chain from Golpark to Shyambazar. According to the organisers, the 11-km chain will be formed to “uphold and safeguard” the Constitution of India, which will complete 70 years.

“We have decided to form a human chain on Republic Day as we want to drive home the message that we — Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains — are one. Everyone stands united as an Indian citizen and we will never allow anyone to sow the seeds of discord among us,” UIFI general secretary Satnam Ahluwalia told PTI. He said leaders of different communities have asked members of their communities to actively participate in the human chain, which will cover areas like Park Circus seven-point crossing, Mullick Bazar, Ripon Street-AJC Bose Road crossing, Nonapukur, Raja Bazar and Maniktala.

Ahluwalia said while the UIFI has not asked the participants to carry any placard, “if any of them bring anything to voice their protest about any issue, they are free to do that, as we oppose any bid to muffle freedom of expression and right to live as guaranteed under the Constitution.” He said the decision to form the human chain was prompted by recent developments in the country that “attempted to divide the society”.

Nirufa Khatun, one of the participants of the indefinite sit-in demonstration at Park Circus Maidan against CAA and NRC, said, “While we will continue our protests at the venue, some of us will also go to the nearest point of the human chain as we strongly feel about the issues.”

“Once the women have come out to make their voices heard, there is no way they will head back home till the goal is realised,” said Muzaffar Ali, one of the persons actively supporting the stir at Park Circus.

Meanwhile, the TMC continued its protest against CAA and NRC at four venues in Kolkata. At Rani Rashmoni Avenue, the women’s wing on Saturday protested against the remark of Kailash Vijayvargiya, the BJP national general secretary and its Bengal minder, who had said on Thursday that he found the eating habits of some of the construction labourers working at his house in Indore “strange” as they were eating only ‘poha’ (flattened rice).

At the venue, TMC leader and state Health Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya on Saturday said, “Not only on the Republic Day, we will oppose CAA and NRC everyday. It will continue till the central government withdraws this act.” The members of the women’s wing also took a pledge to uphold the Constitution.

The opposition parties, including CPM and Congress, will read an oath to uphold the Constitution. They will also organise several events to campaign against CAA and NRC on Sunday.

(With PTI inputs)