Patna: Thousands joined a massive rally to protest against CAA-NRC-NPR (Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens, National Population Register) in Patna on Thursday that was addressed by former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president and Communist Party of India leader, Kanhaiya Kumar and several others.
A two-minute silence was observed by the large gathering during the rally to pay homage to people killed in Delhi communal violence.
The rally was held to mark the end of the nearly month-long Jana Gana Mana Yatra by Kanhaiya, who faced at least nine attacks by Right-wingers during it. It was attended by Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, former IAS turned activist Kannan Gopinathan, Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi ,JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh and former JNUSU president and Congress MLA from Bihar's Kadwa Assembly seat, Shakeel Ahmad Khan, and CPI(M) and CPI (ML) leaders.
Addressing the Desh Bachao Samvidhan Bachao (Save India, Save Constitution) rally here at Gandhi Maidan, Kanhaiya in his trademark style warned the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government that countrywide protests would continue till the government scrapped CAA. ”We will continue our fight against CAA and protest will continue till the CAA would be scrapped”.
“We are not afraid of government actions, arrest, different pressures tactics and attacks against all those active in protest against CAA-NRC-NPR protest,” he said.
Kanhaiya’s Jana-Gana-Mana Yatra that started from Bhitiharwa Ashram in Bihar's West Champaran district, the historic land associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s first satyagraha, and culminated into a rally in Patna, after covering 4,000 km.
In his address, the former JNUSU leader described the ongoing protest against CAA-NRC-NPR as the “second freedom struggle”. "Dusri azadi ki ladai ke liye hame ladta rahna hoga”, he said, big a greeted by applause from thousands of slogan-shouting people, including a large number of women.
The CPI leader recalled how he and others accompanying him during the Yatra held public meetings despite repeated attacks, difficulties and problems. He hailed the common people for helping them to hold public meetings during the Yatra. In Madhepura district, some farmers uprooted their standing crops for holding our meeting against CAA-NRC-NPR, he added
“Some people say that this rally was being held as Bihar Assembly polls are due later this year. But polls will be held only when the country and Constitution are be saved,” he said.
He said it was for the people of the country to decide whether they would go with peace icon Mahatma Gandhi or with his killer Nathuram Godse.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kanhaiya wanted to know “why he is not appealing to his party (BJP) leaders who are publicly making hate speeches.”
Without naming BJP, he said that “a political party was burning Delhi for its own vested interests. But we will not allow religious politics in Bihar. Hum dharma ki rajniti nahi chalne denge”.
Speakers in the rally appealed to people to reach out to their fellow beings in respective localities and villages to counter hate politics with love and brotherhood. "