In a significant announcement, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday that the rights of followers of all religions in the state would be protected under the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.
“There should be no misconceptions about the amended citizenship rules in the peoples’ minds. The state government will not allow the rights of people belonging to any religion to be affected,” Thackeray declared in the Assembly here this evening.
“After the amended rules have been approved, there is a lot of apprehension and an atmosphere of fear has been generated all over the country. Agitations and protests are going on which have become violent in some places. This is the time for all to come together and remove the misunderstandings in the minds of the people,” he urged.
Thackeray said he has been personally talking to various groups and trying to remove the peoples’ doubts, and mentioned his meeting with a delegation of the huge protest against CAA-NRC that was taken out for the second day in Nagpur.
“The matter is still pending before the Supreme Court. Nobody from any community should harbour the impression that if these laws are implemented, people will be removed from the country. We will ensure such a thing does not happen,” he categorically assured.
The CM also appealed to the people to refrain from any violent activities during their democratic protests and “not sully the fair image of Maharashtra”.
He said the masses have a right to protest, but they should ensure that the agitations are peaceful and don’t become violent and reassured that no citizens’ rights would be affected in any manner because of the revised citizenship rules.
Thackeray’s statements came as violence broke out in several districts with at least six government vehicles being damaged during anti-CAA/NRC protests in different parts of the state on Friday.
Earlier in the day, thousands took to the streets in Nagpur, Pune’s Pimpri-Chinchwad, Aurangabad, Thane’s Ambernath and Bhiwandi, Sangli, Hingoli, Beed, Nanded, Jalna, Ahmednagar’s Sangamner, Parbhani, and Yavatmal.
These came a day after similar massive protests and processions taken out in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Solapur, Osmanabad, Palghar, Beed and Amravati on Thursday.
Interestingly, all protests have included Muslim women and men, with non-Muslims of different faiths participating in huge numbers, indicating all-pervasive angst, and the protestors also condemned police violence against the students of Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.
The protests, coming after similar agitations in Mumbai’s IIT-B, the TISS, University of Mumbai, Pune University, Wardha’s Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya and other institutions, were supported by the ruling Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, Congress, and other parties, barring the right-wingers like the state opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies.-IANS news