Hyderabad: Hundreds of people from different social and political organisations gathered at Hyderabad’s Dharna Chowk to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), which was passed in both Houses of the parliament. The protest, which started at around 11 am on Sunday, began gaining momentum with the crowd swelling up in the next few hours, forcing the city police to barricade the area.
‘CAB hatao’ and ‘Narendra Modi down down’ were some of the slogans that were raised by protesters, many of whom were Muslims. The protest drew citizens from various walks of life, especially students and the elderly, who also turned up in large numbers. “A lot of people are not even aware of what the new bill entails. India is our motherland, and this is where we belong. Even Islam tells us to protect our land," said Amjadullah Khan, who heads the Majilis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), a political part from Hyderabad.
The new law, which accords citizenship to non-Muslims fleeing religious persecution in three Muslim countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan — has been criticized as discriminatory against Muslims. As the protests grew, the road on which Dharna Chowk is situated began choking traffic, finally forcing the police to barricade the street by 12.30 pm
“This bill is outright discriminatory. Indian Muslims are constantly made to prove their allegiance and this will only makes things worse for now. Read with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), it means that if at all someone cannot get the required documents, if he or she happens to be a non-Muslim, then citizenship will not be a problem. My family has been living here for generations, like so many others. Can Narendra Modi or Amit Shah themselves show documents to prove their forefathers are from Gujarat?" questioned Mohammed Salman, a 21-year-old who turned up to protest.
In Hyderabad, protests against the new bill have been on from the last few days. On Friday, different groups of Muslims undertook protests at the Toli Chowki area and in Hyderabad’s old city area. The protests had resulted in traffic halting for a long time. Asaduddin Owaisi, member of parliament from the Hyderabad Lok Sabha septa and leader of the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), is also one among the people who has filed a petition with the Supreme Court against the bill.