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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 16 (PTI) Setting aside political
differences, ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and opposition Congress
headed UDF in Kerala held a joint protest against the amended
Citizenship act here on Monday with Chief Minister Pinarayi
Vijayan slamming the move as an attempt to "curb freedom".
In a rare show of unity in the bi-polar state dominated
by the two arch-rivals, Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition
in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala shared the platform at a
meeting organised at the Martyr''s Column and condemned the
Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and exchanged pleasantries.
At the joint meeting, the first such in the country
against the Centre over the issue, both the fronts attacked
the BJP-led NDA, the RSS and the Sangh Parivar, alleging the
amendment had been brought in as part of their agenda to
divide the people and create "a religious state".
The state also witnessed protests against CAA by various
organisations and student and youth outfits who took out
rallies. Trains were blocked at different places.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan appealed to those
protesting against the CAA to desist from indulging in any
violence, saying none had the right to take law into their own
Addressing the protest here, Vijayan said the country was
facing an "explosive" atmosphere and the Citizenship
Amendment Act was an attempt to "curb" the freedom which India
attained through the sacrifices of many.
Claiming that the amendment altered the basic structure
of the Constitution and was "unconstitutional", he said the
new law has omitted those who have faced worse persecution in
Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
"Article 14 provides equality to all citizens. When a law
is against the fundamental rights, its unconstitutional...The
government is silent about the Sri Lankan Tamils, thousands of
Rohingyas.. Even the United Nations has come out openly
against this law," Vijayan added.
The joint protest expressed solidarity with the
protesters across the nation and the chief minister said if
anyone declares that minorities cannot be considered as
citizens, Kerala will oppose it and will not implement any
"People were worried on how we will oppose a central law.
Let me make our stand clear. We all took oath under the
Constitution of India. We will oppose anyone who tries to
destroy our constitution. Our allegiance is to the
Constitution and not to the agenda of RSS," Vijayan said.
He alleged the present ''crisis'' in the country was
"deliberately created" by the Centre and the "RSS agenda was
to ensure that India should not be a secular, but a religious
Though Vijayan and Chennithala often cross swords in the
assembly over various issues, the two leaders were seen
exchanging pleasantries as they shook hands with each other.
This is perhaps for the first time that the ruling and
opposition fronts have come together in Kerala to jointly
organise a protest against the Union government.
Chennithala alleged the Sangh Parivar was
"experimenting" with the agenda of Hitler in India and those
opposing it were being threatened.
"The model before them (RSS) is the Nazi Germany of
(Adolf) Hitler. Sangh Parivar is experimenting with Hitler''s
agenda. The secularism and the brotherhood of our country is
threatened by igniting fake nationalism among the people," he
There was an atmosphere of fear prevailing in the coutry
and those opposing the government were being threatened, he
"The media which opposes it is being threatened using
corporate power. Those who write against it are being
threatened. Those who oppose against their agenda are put
behind bars using ED (Enforcement Directorate)," he said.
State ministers E P Jayarajan, A K Balan, E
Chandrasekharan, Kadakampally Surendran and Kadanapally
Ramachandran and a host of UDF leaders including P J Joseph, M
K Muneer and Anoop Jacob attended the protest meeting.
Secretary of the All India Sunni Jamiyyathul Ulama
Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musaliyar, who also addressed the
gathering, said India was a land of all religions.
Meanwhile, over two dozens organisations, association of
various government departments also gathered at the venue
expressing solidarity with the joint meet.
The state BJP hit out at both the fronts saying they have
joined hands even though they fight each other in elections.
"The attempts of the two fronts are to woo the Muslim
vote bank," BJP general secretary K Surendran told the media.
Students of various varsities and colleges across the
state on Monday took out marches protesting the CAA and the
police action against students of the Jamia Millia university
in Delhi on Sunday night.
Various political parties and organisations also hit the
streets in Kerala protesting against the CAA.
Trains were blocked at Thiruvalla, Kollam and Palakaad
with activists squatting on the rail tracks on Monday morning,
delaying a few trains.
The activists of DYFI, KSU and SFI took out protest
marches to the Raj Bhavan here past midnight on Sunday,
besides blocking trains at various places including Kozhikode,
Thalassery and Kochi.
A group of Youth Congress workers waved black flags at
Manipur Governor Nejma Hepatulla, who was on her way to the
airport in Kochi to board a flight to Lakshadweep.
A Joint Action Committee (JAC) of a group of over 30
outfits, opposing the implementation of CAA, has called for a
state-wide hartal on Tuesday.
While the BJP in Kerala slammed the hartal call, saying
it was "unnecessary" and against "national interest", other
major political parties, including the CPI(M), Congress,CPI
and Muslim outfits, have also opposed the protest saying it
was unnecessary. PTI RRT LGK UD