PM Modi, Not Just Shaheen Bagh or Jamia, India is Protesting CAA

Anti-CAA protests aren’t only in Shaheen Bagh, Seelampur & Jamia. And they aren’t restricted to Muslim-only areas.

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Who is protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act in India? If we listen to the prime minister, it seems to be happening in only three places… in Delhi –
Shaheen Bagh, Seelampur and Jamia.

That's right. In a rally in East Delhi’s Karkardooma on 3 February, just a few days ahead of Assembly elections in Delhi, PM Modi said, “Be it Seelampur, Jamia (Nagar) or Shaheen Bagh, for the last several days, there have been protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Are these protests coincidental? No, this is not coincidental, it is an experiment. There is politics behind this.”

But as almost everyone knows now, anti-CAA protests aren’t only taking place in Shaheen Bagh, Seelampur and Jamia. And unlike what PM Modi is implying, these protests are NOT restricted to Muslim-only areas.

Protests Across India

Here are some places in India which are not Muslim-dominated but have seen people rise in protest against the CAA.

Punjab
Farmers and Sikh groups have been protesting, with some farmers even joining the women at Shaheen Bagh, to show solidarity.

PM Modi, Not Just Shaheen Bagh or Jamia, India is Protesting CAA
(Photo: The Quint)

LGBTQ Anti-CAA Protests
Human Chain in Kerala

PM Modi, Not Just Shaheen Bagh or Jamia, India is Protesting CAA
(Photo: The Quint)

Assam, where an entire cross section of society are out on the streets.

#OccupyGateway in Mumbai

Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi

Protests Across the World

Anti-CAA protests have been regularly taking place in countries like the US, where as recently as 26 January, a massive crowd had gathered near The White House in Washington DC to stage a march to the Indian Embassy. Indian students and diaspora have come out on the streets against CAA in:

Harvard University, USA

PM Modi, Not Just Shaheen Bagh or Jamia, India is Protesting CAA
(Photo: The Quint)

Berlin, Germany

Canada

Netherlands

Oxford, United Kingdom

PM Modi, Not Just Shaheen Bagh or Jamia, India is Protesting CAA
(Photo: The Quint)

Now I know what you’re going to say. This was an election rally for the Delhi Assembly. So obviously it makes sense for PM Modi to talk about places in Delhi which are protesting against CAA to make his argument.

Even in Delhi, protests have taken place in places that aren't Muslim dominated. Like:

Jantar Mantar

ITO

JNU

India Gate

Why Only Single Out Shaheen Bagh & Jamia?

So, why only single out Shaheen Bagh and Jamia?

The answer to this WHY is simple. It is to package dissent against CAA as Muslim-only dissent.

Let's be clear. There's nothing wrong in Muslim-only dissent on ANY issue... especially in a democracy like India. The objections to the Citizenship Amendment Act and an impending nationwide NRC are genuine; under the law, citizenship to immigrants will be awarded based on religion, which is a violation of the Constitution's spirit, and the government still hasn't clarified its plans on a nationwide NRC.

So even IF anti-CAA protests across India are Muslim-dominated – because it can’t be denied that it IS a fight for a minority community’s identity – it should not be a problem.

HOWEVER, the problem IS when the label of "Muslim-only dissent" is used to hint at a larger conspiracy. When it is used as a way to link anti-CAA protests to "desh ke gaddar."

Dismissing nationwide protests against a legislation – protests which have been ongoing for nearly two months now – and instead, choosing to target only a community and their valid dissent in a rhetoric which seeks to polarise — is this what a prime minister should do, even if it’s election season?

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