Thursday morning saw citizens of Malegaon come together for one of the biggest protests against the new citizenship law so far. The protest call was given by Dastoor Bachao Committee (Save the Constitution Committee) and supported by the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and the Republican Party of India (RPI).
The procession began at 10 AM from Malegaon Fort and ended three hours later at Shahidon ki Yaadgaar. This is significant as this display of Dalit-Muslim unity goes a long way in strengthening the bonds between two communities that have historically faced oppression and discrimination. The rally also attracted thousands of power-loom workers, as Malegaon is a textile hub. Thousands of students, many of them first-time protesters, also attended the rally.
All demonstrations were peaceful. The Indian Express reported that Maulana Umrain Mahfooz Rahmani, convener, Dastoor Bachao Committee and secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, addressed the rally saying, “December 19 is a historic day. It is a day the British hanged two freedom fighters Ashfaqullah Khan and Ram Prasad Bismil. We are their descendants. If the need arises, we are willing to sacrifice our lives to save the country.” Rahmani also advised the “globe-trotting” Prime Minister to visit the tomb of Ramses II, the third pharaoh of Egypt to learn that power does not last forever.
VBA chief Prakash Ambedkar also attended the rally and said, “The CAA is just an eyewash. What has raised apprehensions is the NRC.” The VBA is coming together with many other like-minded organisations and plans to hold many more anti-CAA protests.