The 90 Feet Road in Dharavi resembled a sea of people on Sunday afternoon. A large number of Mumbaikars, led by local residents, came out on to the arterial road in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Estimated to be 25,000 to 30,000 in number, the people came together at a protest organised by Dharavi Rahivasi Seva Sangh. One of the protesters, Rayan Hussain, said the protest was not only against CAA or NRC but also against the unconstitutional moves by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre.
“First it was the revocation of Article 370, which faced so much protest nation-wide, and now this. It seems the government has closed its eyes to the demands of the people.”Borivali resident Razvi Ahmed said he had travelled nearly 25 km to the protest venue just to show that there is no difference between Hindus and Muslims. “The government is deliberately trying to divide the nation on the basis of religion. The last time this happened was in 1947, and we all know that the country was then divided into two,” Mr. Ahmed said.
Mr. Hussain said unlike various parts of the country where police and protesters have clashed, there was peace only in Mumbai.
“As long as the Mumbai Police are around, we protesters have no fear in putting forth our demands. We have been assured that the police will protect us if we protest or keep our demands in the right way,” he said.Meanwhile, over 250 citizens participated in a march to Lokhande Marg, Chembur, at a rally organised by Sambhidhan Sarwadhan Samiti (SSS), raising the slogan, “Modi-Shah fake hain, Hindu-Muslim ek hain (Modi and Shah are fake, Hindus and Muslims are united)”.
Mumtaz Shaikh, a member of SSS, said the march aimed at educating people about the consequences of the CAA and NRC.
“Many don’t know how the Act will affect the people. We are educating them about it through this rally so that they step out of their houses and show their concerns,” Ms. Sheikh said.
She said the committee will be writing to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray requesting him to not implement the law in Maharashtra. “We have also asked people to write to the CM requesting this. If the CM receives a large number of letters, I think he will consider our request,” Ms. Sheikh said.
Shayamal Lal, a medical representative, said he was concerned about the recent price hikes in various basic commodities.
“The government does not want people to think about these issues. So, after an interval, it comes up with laws that will leave them unnoticed,” Mr. Lal said.