New Delhi: A collection of 14 organisations comprising farmers, industrial, agrarian and power workers, youth and student groups along with several religious groups organised a district level rally at Jalandhar Bypass in Ludhiana, against the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens and the recent riots in New Delhi.
Thousands of men and women from different faiths and ethnicities raised slogans like “Long live the brotherhood of Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Christian workers” and “Death to Fascism” at the rally. The protesters also passed a resolution of their demands, which included that the CAA-NPR-NRC be immediately repealed, all detention centres be closed and the people detained be released, communal violence being incited be stopped and those inciting violence be arrested and punished.
Additionally, the resolution also demanded that all forms of attacks against those protesting, including the protesters at Shaheen Bagh, be stopped and that action be taken against those officers involved in the attacks on JNU and Jamia university.
The collective of organisations also condemned the attempts by Punjab government to “mislead the public” regarding the NPR and held that any attempt to implement the NPR in the state would be met with resistance.
The rally was addressed by Joginder Singh Ugrahan, the president of BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan); Manjeet Singh Dhaner, senior vice president of BKU (Ekta-Dakaunda); Rajwinder, the president of Textile-Hosiery Workers’ Union; Maulana Md. Usman Ludhianavi, the leader of Majlis Ahrar Islam Hind Jama Masjid; Binny, the leader of Naujwan Bharat Sabha (Lalkaar); Harjinder Singh, the president of Molder and Steel Workers’ Union, and others.
The leaders drew a parallel between the Delhi riots and the 1984 massacre of Sikhs and noted that the violence revealed the intentions of the BJP government in bringing about the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The leaders also condemned the BJP for fomenting a communal divide to divert attention from the real issues facing the people and thwarting the democratic rights of the people. They alleged that not only Muslims, but working-class people including Dalits, backward classes, oppressed nationalities and secular and scientific thinkers were also being targeted. The leaders also claimed that the government was raking up the issue of the CAA-NPR-NRC to mislead people and was selling government institutions to corporations at throwaway prices.
It was also argued that, as a result, there were widespread layoffs, labour laws were being diluted and small businesses were suffering economic ruin and called the Modi government “anti-national” for wanting to establish “a backward state where the basic democratic and legal rights of the people can be fully crushed”.
Asserting that people of all communities, castes, religions, including women, youth, students, intellectuals, farmers and workers would fight against unjust laws, the leaders called for a widespread, strong people’s movement to fight against the attacks on civil and democratic rights by the Modi-Shah government.