18 April, 2021

Streets Say No: Anti-CAA Protests Shake India

Students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University were the face of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act. The solidarity from students and citizens, cutting across region and religion, reflected the angst against the government

Streets Say No: Anti-CAA Protests Shake India

It’s like a dam had burst: as if a reservoir of anger filling up silently had suddenly breached its bounds. The unrest unleashed across India over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, was on a scale and of an intensity the Narendra Modi government probably did not ­anticipate. The prime minister and home minister Amit Shah—forced to come out and defend the act—reiterated that it’s not meant to “take away the citizenship of any Indian”. But the zones of agreement seemed to be shrinking all around. The world media focused unflattering ­attention, allies dithered or issued ­caveats, former allies outed caustic taunts, the Opposition did what the Opposition does…but the real sounds came from the streets. They were resounding with ­something close to a popular veto. It had spilled far beyond the usual enclaves of dissent: city after city saw rallies, and ­protest calendars filled social media. Young, articulate voices spoke their mind to TV cameras and even IITs, IIMs and private universities joined others in expressing...

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