New Delhi: Amidst nation-wide protests, the Bhim Army on Sunday afternoon announced the formation of a Samvidhan Suraksha Samiti (Committee for the protection of the constitution) to continue their struggle against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“We will continue our protest until it is rolled back,” Himanshu Vakmiki, Delhi state president of the Bhim Army told The Wire. The Bhim Army state president further said that the CAA and NRC are not just against Muslims, but also Dalits and Bahujans. “We stand in solidarity with the protestors,” he said.
Breaking : Amidst nationwide #CAA_NRC_Protests, #BhimArmy annouces formation of “Samvidhan Suraksha Samiti”(Committe for protect the Constitution). “We will continue our protest until it is rolled back,” Himanshu Vakmiki, Delhi state president of the Bhim Army told @thewire_in. pic.twitter.com/Pnatzsh146
— Mahtab महताब مہتاب (@MahtabNama) December 22, 2019
Denying allegations of protesters’ involvement in the violence and burning of public properties in the protest called by the Bhim Army on Friday in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj and Delhi Gate, its legal advisor Mehmood Pracha said, “We are the followers of Ambedkar saheb. And pen is mightier than the sword, thousands of swords. Our numbers are our strength. Our peace is our strength and our protest was totally peaceful”. He further said that those indulging in violence were not Ambedkarites and belong to the ideology of manuvaad.
Chandrashekhar Azad, the founder president of the Bhim Army, is the convenor of the committee and Pracha is the co-convener of newly constituted body. According to the Bhim Army, among the priorities of the committee, is to ensure that “the nationwide protests remain peaceful and under no circumstances, agents of the government and their political masters are able to orchestrate any violence to give a bad name to the peaceful nationwide movement to save the Constitution.”
They also demanded the unconditional release of those who have been arrested in false cases while protesting against the CAA. Moreover, an immediate compensation of Rs one crore for those killed and 10-25 lakhs for seriously injured protestors was demanded by the committee.
It can be noted that in Uttar Pradesh alone 879 people have been arrested so far in connection with the anti-CAA protests, and preventive action taken against 5,000 others. Sixteen people, including an 8-year-old boy, have lost their lives during protests in the state.
Meanwhile, speaking at a campaign rally ahead of the Delhi assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday claimed that “urban Naxals” and the Congress were spreading lies about the CAA and the NRC. The prime minister reportedly slammed all rumours about the CAA and NRC and asked what problem the opposition parties had if his government worked for the Dalits. He was supposedly referring to the Dalits of Pakistan and Bangladesh, who have allegedly been forced to convert to Islam or have been persecuted because of their Hindu identity.
Commenting on the PM’s statement, Pracha said, “We will soon announce protests against Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and stage protests in front of respective high commissions to raise our voice against the atrocities on Dalits of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh”. He also said that the CAA and NRC were not just against Muslims but also Dalits.
“That is what Chandrasekhar saheb has been saying all along. That this law is not just against Muslims but it is against all the oppressed classes of this country, that is, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBCs, and other minorities,” he added.
Earlier on Sunday, distancing her party and its workers from the activities of the Bhim Army, BSP supremo Mayawati tweeted saying that Chandrashekhar was playing into the hands of her opponents. According to Mayawati, the Bhim Army leader was working under a sort of conspiracy to weaken the BSP.
1. दलितों का आम मानना है कि भीम आर्मी का चन्द्रशेखर, विरोधी पार्टियों के हाथों खेलकर खासकर बी.एस.पी. के मज़बूत राज्यों में षड़यन्त्र के तहत चुनाव के करीब वहाँ पार्टी के वोटों को प्रभावित करने वाले मुद्दे पर, प्रदर्शन आदि करके फिर जबरन जेल चला जाता है।
— Mayawati (@Mayawati) December 22, 2019
When asked about these allegations, the Bhim Army Delhi state president Himanshu Valmiki said, “Our struggle is on the lines ideology propounded by Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Kanshiramji. We have always stood with our Muslims brethren and will keep standing in solidarity with them.”
He reiterated that both the CAA and NRC were not just against Muslims, but the entire Bahujan community. “That’s why we were protesting and will continue to protest until the CAA and NRC are rolled back,” he told The Wire on the sidelines of the press conference.
Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad is currently lodged at Tihar jail. His bail plea was turned down by a court in Delhi on Saturday and he was sent to 14 days of judicial custody.
Azad had surrendered early on Saturday after police tried to detain him and failed to, on Friday. He is charged in connection with violence in Old Delhi’s Delhi Gate and Daryaganj area, during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests on Friday. He had sought bail from the court on the grounds that there was no evidence that he had instigated the crowd at Jama Masjid to go to Delhi Gate where the protests had allegedly turned violent.