GUWAHATI, Feb 20 - Representatives of various organisations of the country will start a journey from Rajghat, New Delhi, to Goalpara on February 23 to register their protest against setting up of detention camps to keep ‘doubtful’ citizens.
Announcing the initiative during a public meeting here, social activist Sandeep Pandey, who was on a two-day tour to the city with another activist Medha Patkar, said that he and other participants will travel through Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal and reach Goalpara on March 2.
At Goalpara, they will form a human chain at the site where the construction of a detention camp is under way. During the journey, they will also meet anti-CAA agitators at various locations, including Shaheen Bagh.
In the same context, Pandey said, “It is not justifiable to keep a doubtful person in jail in the name of detention. In the Guwahati jail we have seen a list of seven doubtful citizens. It is not legal. There is a distinct difference between a detention camp and a jail.”
Addressing the meeting, which was attended by students, teachers, intellectuals, writers and other common public of the city, Patkar observed that the marginalised and weaker sections of society, for whom managing bread and butter is a daily struggle, has been suffering a lot in the process of proving citizenship.
Elaborating her experience in the city, Patkar said, “This morning we met a number of small traders and wage labourers in different parts of the city. We discussed various issues with them. During the course of our discussions we came to know that most of them, though they were born and brought up in this land, have no adequate documents to prove their identity. They are not even capable of fighting a legal battle. So what will happen to this section of people if they get detained in the coming days? It is a big question posed before us.”
She stated that the anti-CAA mass movement has a bright future because people today hjave become aware about their democratic rights.
“In every crisis situation the highly affected section always comes to the forefront of an agitation. In case of CAA, we have seen the Muslim women leading the mass agitation. It is our duty to support and participate in the protest. I believe only a women-led movement could bring about change in this country,” Patkar opined.
She also urged the people of Assam to join the conference to be held at Bhopal on March 1 and 2 to save the rivers of India.
“Big dams always turn a river into a pond, which adversely affects the livelihoods of riverine people. So it is our duty to save our rivers,” she added.
Speaking in the meeting, Dr Hiren Gohain said that in Assam the anti-CAA protest got interrupted due to various reasons and it is time to start a strong united movement. Educationist Abdul Mannan also urged all sections of the public to strengthen the anti-CAA movement.