MARGAO: Thousands of people from all over the Goa on Friday stormed at Lohia Maidan, Margao and protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Registe (NPR). People have pledged to refuse to provide any details for the NPR.
Several resolutions were adopted at the meeting which include that the Goa Assembly should pass a resolution demanding that the Central government immediately and unconditionally revoke the CAA and all activities related to NPR and NRC; that the sacred, secular, pluralistic and democratic framework of our Constitution is protected and promoted and that the people of Goa of different faiths and cultural traditions will continue relentlessly to work until the above demands are met.
The protest meeting was organised by Church-backed Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) in collaboration with the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO-Goa unit) and Concerned Citizens of Goa.
Several religious leaders besides, political leaders like Leader of the Opposition Digambar Kamat, MLAs Luizinho Faleiro, Churchill Alemao, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and Vijai Sardesai were seating with people at Lohia Maidan. Director of Goa Foundation Claude Alvares and several social leaders and writers were present at the meeting.
People have also pledged that they stand by the constitutional guarantee of equality, of democracy, of freedom of speech and of pluralism. They pledged to defend these constitutional promises against assaults by any person, party or government.
Most of the speakers at the meeting lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, besides Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant. They even criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and RSS for trying to divide the citizens of the nation on religion. Youth leader Rama Kankonkar even accepted the challenge given by the Chief Minister to debate on the CAA.
Speakers also stated that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the government's intention to implement a National Register of Citizens (NRC) are literally shaking the foundations of India's existence as a pluralistic, multi-faith society where all citizens are supposed to be equal before the law. They also claimed that the amended Citizenship law would undermine the commitment to equality before the law enshrined in India's Constitution.
Goa growth potential needs to be exploited fully says N K Singh
Executive secretary of CSJP Fr Savio Fernandes said that CAA would obstruct India's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and political rights and the convention for the elimination of racial discrimination, to which Indian is a State party, which prohibits discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious grounds.
Dr Oscar Rebello said, "Include the Muslim in the act and issue will be over. NRC is more dangerous than the CAA. Under the process of NRC, the Central government is going to target all. We all have come on the street because our holy book called the Constitution is disturbed. I believe in humanity and I trust humanity and this is our Bharat. Those who are furious with the protesters want us to bent for Hindu Rashtra," he stated.
He also appealed to all the religious heads to teach the children lessons of the Constitution. "There is a need to teach Constitution of India to children," he added.
GAKUVED leader Rama Kankonkar in his speech lambasted the BJP government and alleged that Hindus have more danger from the PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. "This is all about vote bank politics. This CAA is against the poor people," he stated. He also accepted the challenge given by the CM Sawant on CAA.
Eminent writer Damodar Mauzo expressed fear and said "This CAA/NRC/NPR will end up in the second partition of India and we will not tolerate this to happen. This CAA is to kill the patient and not a disease. And hence, unity is important at the moment. Whereas, former State election commissioner Prabhakar Timble stated that we need Azadi from CAA/NRC/NPR."
Timble further said, "No nation in the world is giving citizenship based on the religion, including nations who are not secural and hence India will be the first nation to do so. 45 percent of people in India do not have birth certificates. Goa may be different and hence we need Azadi from NRC. This protest is of students, youth and people. What surprising is that protesters are peaceful but police have become violent. The rejection of permission given to Mapusa meeting is nothing but the defeat of the government," he added.
Devsurabi Yeduvanshi and Muzaffar Shaikh also addressed the gathering. They criticised the BJP government at the Centre. They said in the current situation people cannot trust the BJP government and they made their stand clear that protest will continue till CAA is cancelled.
People who had gathered at the Lohia Maidan were seen shouting slogans against CAA and the BJP government.
No Goan will be affected due to CAA says CM