Mumbai on Friday saw huge rallies both for and against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Students and social activists held a protest against the Act and NRC at the Azad Maidan in south Mumbai. Meanwhile, a large number of people gathered for a pro-CAA rally at the historic August Kranti Maidan, where a massive protest against the Citizenship Act was held last week.
At Azad Maidan, protesters gave slogans against the government. They carried banners decrying the Modi government over the move to amend the Citizenship Act to allow non-Muslim refugees belonging to six religions from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship.
A protester said this was a "faceless government", adding the Act is aimed "not against just one community but against the whole country."
At August Kranti Maidan rally, organised by BJP's Sanvidan Sanman Manch', supporters of CAA were seen carrying national flags along with placards with pro-CAA and NRC messages and shouting slogans.
They were also carrying photographs of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Big photographs of V D Savarkar, Mahatama Jyotiba Fule, Bharatmata and Shahu Maharaj were displayed on stage.
The organisers had planned a support march between the August Kranti Maidan to Lokmanya Tilak statue at Girgaum Chowpatty but Mumbai police denied them permission for the march citing law and order issues.
Addressing the rally, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said the large presence at the rally indicates "massive support" to the
The BJP is creating awareness among people that the Act intends to help the minorities from neighbouring countries who have faced religious persecution, he said.
Talking to reporters before participating in a rally organised by his party in support of the Act, Fadnavis accused the opposition of misleading Indian Muslims.
"Pakistan did not fulfil the (implicit) assurance during Partition that minorities will be protected (in both the countries). Hence India has to look after them because they are our people," said the former chief minister.
"The opposition is deliberately trying to create misunderstanding among Indian Muslims about the Act. For vote bank politics, opposition is trying to create unrest," he alleged.
The leaders who are saying that the Act will not be implemented in their states do not respect the Constitution, the BJP leader further said.
On December 19, August Kranti Maidan, where Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 told the British to quit India, witnessed a huge gathering of citizens against the CAA. Those present then included workers of non-BJP parties, students and many Bollywood personalities.
(With inputs from PTI)
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