Press Trust of india

Country facing challenge with CAA: Teesta Setalvad

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Mangaluru, Mar 1 : The country is facing a huge challenge with the “negative politics being played out by the ruling BJP at the Centre and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is a ploy to implement their agenda of divide and rule,” noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad said on Sunday.

Delivering a speech on the topic ‘Understanding our times: People’s struggle and State response,’ organised by the Citizens Forum for Mangaluru Development and ‘We the People’, she said there was an urgent need to break away from the “vicious politics of the ruling party”.

Setalvad said it was wrong to assume that the CAA would affect only Muslims.

The amended law would adversely affect the interests of Dalits, Adivasis, tribes, migrant labourers and other sections of society.

The attempt to target a community to reap political gains has been happening in the country for long, she alleged.

The people have now descended on the streets as the BJP’s “hidden agenda” has been exposed.

This is a welcome trend, she said adding the protests should be held in a systematic way to fetch desired results.

She accused the government of using brute force to crush peaceful anti-CAA demonstrations at many places, which was a “clear violation” of human rights.

A large section of people would be denied the right to vote if citizenship was given based on documents under the proposed NRC as happened in Assam.

They also would not get benefits under government welfare schemes which would amount to a civil death, she claimed.

While one cannot oppose the census process which is required to count the total population, the new columns for parents’ addresses are meant to create a divide by portraying refugees as ‘infiltrators’ which is objectionable.

Setalvad said the entire NRC exercise, if taken up, would cost the country dear as it would have to spend at least Rs 55,000 crore for the process.

The government was spending the money while failing to address the unemployment issue in the country.

“People should continuously put pressure on elected representatives and the state governments through their protests against the CAA.

“A decisive movement of the masses against the Centre’s move to divide and rule is the need of the hour,” she said.

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