Several members of the Indian film industry are organising a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act that was passed by the BJP-led Indian government in the Rajya Sabha last week. Actor Farhan Akhtar, who has raised his voice against the act along with many other celebrities, released a statement on Twitter explaining that their dissent is not going to be limited to just social media anymore. One of the popular actors in Hindi cinema, Farhan announced that he is going to protest peacefully in Mumbai on Thursday with his other colleagues from the industry at the Kranti Maidan. His tweet read, “Here’s what you need to know about why these protests are important. See you on the 19th at August Kranti Maidan, Mumbai. The time to protest on social media alone is over.” (sic)
Farhan also posted a picture with his post that explains the reason behind opposing the CAA and how it goes against the basic understanding of the Indian constitution. The picture first defines the CAA and then goes on to explain the National Register of Citizens and the entire set-up around the act.
A part of this explanation reads, “The CAA grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who entered India fleeing religious persecution in neighbouring countries. The law excludes Muslims. When combined with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), this law could lead to Indian Muslims being declared stateless, which means that they could lose their right to have rights.”
The picture further narrates the act and mentions that as per the norms, in order to prove their identity through documentary evidence, the citizens will have to show ancestry through historical documents as the ‘ID Cards and tax slips are not enough’. The following objections have been raised against the NRC set-up as mentioned in the picture that Farhan tweeted:
1. What happens to those whose documents have been destroyed?
2. How many of you are sure your parents still have their birth certificates dating back to before 1971?
3. Indian Hindus, Sikhs Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians will be granted citizenship without documents, but not Muslims. Why this discrimination? Does it not go against the constitutional value of India being a secular state?
Earlier, in an interview with Mid-Day, filmmaker Nikkhil Advani who’s also participating in the same protest revealed that Anurag Kashyap, Konkona Sensharma, Dia Mirza and other celebrities have supported the students all over the country against the violence conducted at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia following the anti-CAA protests. He also said that those celebrities who are keeping mum on the entire issue must be having their own best reasons behind not speaking up because that’s the beauty of the democracy – one can not force anyone to speak for or against in a matter.