On December 16th, the road outside Chepauk Stadium swarmed with people from diverse walks of life united by their singular act of dissent towards the islamophobic Citizenship Amendment Act and the subsequent violent reaction of the State to their fellow dissenters in North India.
The protest, organised by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) was co-signed by the Congress, CPI and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK). The event was presided over by K. Balakrishnan of the CPI-M, and saw the presence of other eminent politicians such as VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan, Congress President K. S. Azhagiri, Dravida Kazhagam President K. Veeramani, Kadar Moideen of the IUML and so on. Senior journalists such as N. Ram, R. Vijayasankar, Jen Ram, and activists such as A. Marx and Dawood Mia Khan also participated in the protest.
The event started with heavy parai beats interspersed with resounding rallying calls for the protection of the Constitution, the necessity to nip fascism at the bud, and the importance of caring for each other.
The event started with heavy parai beats interspersed with resounding rallying calls for the protection of the Constitution, the necessity to nip fascism at the bud, and the importance of caring for each other. Amidst the sea of red communist flags – variegated by the green flags of the All-India Muslim League—over 200 students, activists, partisans and general citizens of India condemned the Delhi Police’s actions of attacking the non-violent protesting students of Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University. Anti-CAA posters and placards could be seen everywhere, amidst others calling out police brutality.
Powerful speeches were made by various speakers that further invigorated the protestors. An important point about the Citizenship Amendment Act, one that has not figured in the national discourse yet, was also made. DMK Organising Secretary RS Bharathi, CPI State Secretary R Mutharasan and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi President Prof MH Jawahirullah, amongst others, claimed that the CAA betrays Sri Lankan Tamils seeking refuge in Tamil Nadu by denying them citizenship. They asserted that the betrayal is furthermore painful because the ruling party AIADMK supports the Act as well.
Also read: Why The Citizenship Amendment Bill Is Causing Concern To The North-Eastern States Of India
The protest went on without any disruptions for a few more hours before it was concluded with a symbolic torch rally. A protest was held a few hours prior to this at the IIT-Madras campus which also progressed without any interruptions.
Other protests were not so lucky. The very next day, on the 17th of December, another anti-CAA protest was held at the University of Madras. This was joined by students from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Chennai, as well. There have been reports of the police unlawfully detaining two of the peacefully protesting students and refusing to release them unless the protest was called off.
he very next day, on the 17th of December, another anti-CAA protest was held at the University of Madras. This was joined by students from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Chennai, as well. There have been reports of the police unlawfully detaining two of the peacefully protesting students and refusing to release them unless the protest was called off.
Similarly, a protest held by the DMK on the 12th December was interrupted by the arrest of Udhayanadhi Stalin and other party workers who had protested by tearing copies of the Act. “It is unconstitutional to link citizenship with religion. CAB is a direct assault on secularism, equality and fraternity – principles that are essential to any democracy,” claimed Stalin. He said, “withdraw the CAB. Hindus, Muslims and Christians live in harmony in the country. Do not hide the pluralistic nature of India by using the saffron flag.”
Also read: Bengaluru Joins Protest Against Citizenship Act
Yet, this has not dampened Chennai’s spirit and has instead further galvanised it as the city gears up for more protests in the coming days. A major one to look out for is on the 19th, which will be part of the all-India protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. This will take place at 3 pm at Valluvar Kottam.
Featured Image Source: New Indian Express