Owaisi threatens to turn UP's streets into Delhi's Shaheen Bagh
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday demanded the scrapping of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) at a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh's Barabanki. Owaisi also threatened that protesters would turn UP's streets into Delhi's Shaheen Bagh if CAA and NRC were not withdrawn. Notably, Shaheen Bagh was the epicenter of anti-CAA protests last year.
- Owaisi's comments came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre has decided to repeal the three contentious farm laws.
- Modi's announcement came in the backdrop of a year-long protest by the farmers of north Indian states against the laws.
- Owaisi alleged that the repeal of the farm laws was intended to appease farmers ahead of Assembly elections.
In his address, Owaisi said the CAA is unconstitutional, and if the BJP-led Centre does not withdraw it, "we will come out on the streets, and another Shaheen Bagh will come up here." The CAA was passed in Parliament in December 2019. Following this, the streets of Delhi's Shaheen Bagh had turned into a protest site, and the protesters blocked the road for months.
The CAA paves the way to grant Indian citizenship to people from six religions—Hindus, Parsi, Sikhs, Jain, Christian, and Buddhist—from neighboring Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Critics say the non-inclusion of Muslims under the act is unconstitutional since the Indian constitution grants equal rights to every religion. In northeastern states, the CAA is being opposed, fearing demographic changes after granting citizenship to foreigners.
Owaisi also called Modi the biggest "nautankibaaz" (dramatic person) in India. "By mistake, he has entered politics, else what would have happened to the people of the film industry...All the awards would have been won by Modi," Owaisi said. Slamming Modi over his comment that there had been some shortcomings in his "tapasya"(penance), Owaisi said the real "tapasya" was done by farmers.
Owaisi further said Modi is a "big actor" who does not leave any chance of turning himself into a "hero." The decision to repeal the farm laws was taken in the view of upcoming Assembly elections in six major states, Owaisi added.
Owaisi also urged the Muslim community to unite ahead of the Assembly polls in UP. "When Thakurs, Brahmins, Yadavs, Kurmis can become strong by uniting, why can't you?" he asked. He blamed the BJP government for the backwardness and unemployment of the Muslim community. "The government is just pretending. No work has been done for this society," he said.
Owaisi further said, "Today, the Ansari community and Qureshi community are on the verge of ruin in UP. The government has made them unemployed. Meat shops of the Qureshi community were locked. Slaughterhouses have closed. The income of weavers has decreased."