Bhubaneswar: The Odisha capital witnessed one of the biggest protest against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as over 25,000 people from across the state took out a march from Exhibition Grounds and Mahatma Gandhi Marg here on Thursday.
Carrying banners, placards and Indian flags, the protesters congregated at Mahatma Gandhi Marg, where a meeting to ‘save constitution, save secularism, save nation’ was held. The protesters, including Congress, Left and AAP leaders and social workers, academics, different minority groups, Dalits and Adivasis, then recited the Preamble and took a vow to uphold all its principles.
In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, they urged him to take a clear stand on National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
They appealed to the Odisha government to follow the example set by Kerala and other states that have passed unanimous resolution not to allow CAA, NRC and NPR.
The protestors said that all non-BJP state governments should move the Supreme Court for repeal of the CAA 2019 as well as the amendments of 2003 which provide for NRC and NPR. They further said that if these are not struck down, the States will be left with no options but to disobey the Centre even at the “risk of dismissal” to prevent the destruction of the Constitution.
“If the State Governments permit NPR, they will, in effect, permit a process of communal targeting. This will cause catastrophic suffering and lead to possible disenfranchisement of millions of Indian Muslims. It will be, in sum, a terrible betrayal of Constitution,” the letter added.
Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik, who along with state secretary of CPI (M) Janardan Pati joined the protest at Lower PMG, slammed the Naveen Patnaik government for supporting the CAA in Parliament.
About 18 political parties and organisations reportedly participated in the demonstration against CAA, NRC and NPR.