JERRY FERNANDES, SALIGAO
Thousands of people participated in a massive rally held in Panaji recently to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) along with the government’s proposals for National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). A resolution was finally adopted at the meet which read, “We, the people, gathered here, organised by Goa Alliance against CAA/NRC-NPR at Azad Maidan, resolve to ensure that our Constitution and our laws shall always be bound and continue to be bound on principles of justice, equality, secularism, socialism and, therefore, we are against any form of discrimination, directly or indirectly, on grounds of religion, caste, gender, class, occupation etc.” People across the nation have also been taking part in similar rallies and rightly protesting, especially against the CAA, as the same has been mischievously designed to grant Indian citizenship only to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains by excluding Muslims from the neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have entered this country on or before December 31, 2014, and who are facing religious persecution. The excuse that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre has been still giving for excluding Muslims is that they don’t face persecution in Islamic countries. When Dalit Hindus can face persecution in a secular country like India, then why not Muslims in fundamentalist Islamic countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan? Our Constitution does not discriminate people on the basis of religion but guarantees equal rights to all and allows everyone to live like free-born citizens without discrimination of any sort. Unfortunately, the central government seems to be hell-bent on destroying the soul of India by unleashing such mindless exercises like CAA, NRC and NPR so as to conceal its major failures. The government has practically destroyed the economy, failed in generating employment or ensuring law and order and it has also failed in providing justice to rape victims. I, therefore, think that the people of this country should continue to oppose CAA, NRC, NPR in one loud voice.