Yashwant Sinha, a veteran politician and former Bharatiya Janata Party leader, has launched a march called Gandhi Shanti Yatra from Mumbai on Thursday. This is his another attempt at spreading awareness about the faultlines of Citizenship (Amendment) Act as well as proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). The yatra will pass through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and will culminate in Delhi.
The march has started from Gateway of India in Mumbai. The date of flagging off, January 9, marks M K Gandhi’s return from South Africa in 1915. Gandhi had travelled in a boat and had got off at the Gateway of India itself. [He was also the first Indian who was allowed to de-board at Gateway, which had been kept reserved for the British until then.]
“Gandhi fought against discrimination. His socio-political journey originates from the battle against discrimination. CAA and NRC is nothing but again discrimination against the poor and the deprived Indians. It is, therefore, an attempt at following his footsteps and standing with the fellow Indians,” said Sinha.
As the yatra is to pass through BJP-ruled states—especially Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh—Sinha has made a special appeal to BJP to let him keep the protest peaceful. “The violence that has been taking place in the BJP-ruled states, especially in Uttar Pradesh, is worrisome, for the entire country. Our yatra is to bring people of all castes and religions together. We are working for the peace and harmony in the country. So, I appeal to BJP to allow me to pass through the states they are ruling,” said Sinha.
The yatra is expected to reach Delhi on January 30, which marks Gandhi’s assassination at the hands of Nathuram Godse. It will conclude at Raj Ghat, Gandhi’s samadhi in Delhi. Political leaders and social activists in large numbers are expected to participate in the rally, especially on January 30. At the flagging off of the march in Mumbai, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar, Congress leader and former CM Prithviraj Chavhan, former MP and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar among others were present.
At the flagging off, leaders condemned the attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and criticised Modi government for creating an atmosphere of fear in the country. The participants of this yatra are also demanding a probe into the attack on JNU students and teachers.
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