New Delhi: India’s 71st Republic Day was marked by rallies held across cities in the United States and London in United Kingdom, to protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CA), calling for protecting the Constitution of India that does not discriminate citizenship on the basis of religion.
In the US, a broad coalition of Indian Americans and US-based civil rights organisations and activists organised huge rallies in multiple cities to demand repeal of CAA by the Indian government. “The law is blatantly undemocratic, unconstitutional and divisive in both letter and spirit,” said a joint release issued on Sunday.
“Protesters are demanding an end to India's continued repression of minorities and are urging the US Government to impose sanctions on India's Home Minister Amit Shah, as recommended by the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF),” the release added.
In London, over 2,000 people from diverse and multi-faith Indian communities demonstrated against the “fascist” policies of the Narendra Modi government on Saturday, January 25, the eve of India's Republic Day, according to a release by South Asia Solidarity Group (SASG), an umbrella of various disapora organisations in the UK.
At a rally outside 10 Downing Street, they protesters also called for repeal CAA, which “undermines India's secular Constitution, and the abolition of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), which in conjunction with the CAA open the way for selective mass disenfranchisement of India's Muslim population and ethnic cleansing,”, said a release by SASG.
The rallyists also expressed solidarity with the massive protests underway across India, led by women and youth.
Those who took part in the Lond rally included the SOAS India Society and South Asian Students Against Fascism, along with Brazilian anti-fascists marching from an earlier protest at the Brazilian Embassy, against the Modi government’s invitation to Jair Bolsonaro as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day.
The demonstration in London was part of a global two-day action against India's new, “discriminatory and unconstitutional laws and other measures to change the basis of Indian citizenship”, the release said.
“As the Modi regime takes a massive step toward ethnic cleansing of Muslims, we, in the diaspora, stand with the united mass resistance led by women and students which is spreading across India in the face of unspeakable violence from the police and right-wing gangs sponsored by the government. This protest exposes once and for all the myth that Modi can rely on unquestioning support from the diaspora,” Sarbjit Johal of SASG was quoted as saying.
Among the groups that took part in the rally were South Asia Solidarity Group, CasteWatch UK, Co-ordinating Committee of Malayali Muslims, SOAS India Society, Tamil People in the UK, Indian Workers Association (GB), Indian Muslim Federation(UK), Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO), Kashmir Solidarity Movement, South Asian Students Against Fascism , Newham Muslim Alliance; Ghadar International, and others
In the US, the protests under the banner of "Coalition to Stop Genocide," which includes organisations, such as Indian American Muslim Council, Black Lives Matter, Jewish Voice for Peace, Equality Labs, and Hindus for Human Rights, among others.
"This largest ever rally of Indian Americans represents an extension of the massive unrest in India against the ruling Hindu nationalist government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its relentless attacks against India's secular Constitution," Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC, was quoted in the release.
Stefan Shaw of Jewish Voice for Peace was quoted as saying that: “The CAA is an attempt to make an exception of Muslims and to strip them of their rights," adding that “As we have opposed Jewish exceptionalism in Israel, we oppose Hindu exceptionalism in India,”