Vowing to “protect the Constitution of India”, the Congress in Kerala led by its top leaders on Saturday organised massive protests in all district headquarters as part of strengthening its campaign against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Senior Congress leaders including Ramesh Chennithala, Mullappally Ramachandran, Shashi Tharoor, Benny Behanan and M M Hassan participated in the campaign. Leaders including MPs MLAs and workers of the party courted arrest in many districts.
In some places including Kochi, Wayanad and Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram the workers tried to break the police barricades and tried to enter central government institutions, leading to minor scuffles with police personnel. Inaugurating the protest in Malappuram district in North Kerala, which has been witnessing a series of agitations against the CAA, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Chennithala alleged the BJP and its government at the Centre were trying to divide the people of the country as Hindus and Muslims. “It is a fight against authoritarianism and fascism. The government is using brute force to silence the people who are on the streets against the law meant to divide the people of the country on religious lines,” he alleged addressing the protesters. He cited the Kesavananda Bharti case in which the apex court ruled in 1973 that there is a “basic structure” to India’s constitution that cannot be altered by any amendment.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are trying to change the basic structure of the Constitution. How can they undermine the Supreme Court verdict in the Kesavananda Bharati case and bring such an unconstitutional amendment. Now we have challenged the CAA in the Supreme Court. I am certain that the new law would be thrown into dustbin,” Chennithala said. State Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran inaugurated the agitation in Kasargod district. Addressing the Congress workers, he said students and academics in universities across the country are on the path of agitation against the CAA. “Networks are down in many cities including the national capital and the basic rights of the people are denied in Modi’s new digital India,” he alleged.
He accused the BJP and the RSS of trying to demolish the basic structure of the Constitution and convert India a Hindu Rashtra. Criticising the government for denying Muslims citizenship on the basis of religion and branding the ongoing protests by the people a communal issue, Ramachandran said, “the Congress will always stand with India’s minorities. We are ready to die for you. It is the party of Mahatma Gandhi who sacrificed his life for the people of the country”.
He urged the party workers to continue their peaceful agitation against the CAA. KPCC vice-president and MLA V D Satheesan inaugurated the protest in Kochi. While Tharoor led the agitation in Kozhikode, former party state chief M M Hassan inaugurated the agitation in Thiruvananthapuram. AICC General Secretary Venugopal had led the protest in Alappuzha on Friday. Upping the ante against the CAA, Venugopal had on Friday said the “unconstitutional” legislation will not be implemented in Congress-ruled states.
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Source: Financial Express