New groups join anti-CAA protests

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New Delhi: Bhim Army members joined the anticitizenship law protesters at Shaheen Bagh here and demanded the release of their outfit’s chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad. Carrying posters of Aazad and B.R. Ambedkar, the father of India’s Constitution, scores of members of the Dalit emancipation outfit raised slogans like “Bahujan-Muslim Ekta Zindabad” and “Jai Bhim”. Aazad was arrested on December 21 in connection with violence in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj, a day after his outfit had organised a march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. Bhim Army’s Delhi unit president Himanshu Valmiki led the outfit’s supporters at Shaheen Bagh as the group raised its demands and extended support to other protesters. Manoj, who came from Rohtak in Haryana, said around 60-70 members of the Bhim Army were at the spot. “We are here to extend the message of support and solidarity to CAA and NRC protestors from Bhim Army and its chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad,” he said. Rohit, another member of the Bhim Army, said, “We are here to demand rollback of the CAA and NRC and also to demand that Aazad be released.”Shaheen Bagh, near Jamia Millia Islamia, has been a protest venue for a section of people opposed to the CAA and the NRC since December 15. Besides Delhi, protests have been witnessed across the country over the contentious law. According to the amended law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 after facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but will be given Indian citizenship. Days after the Kerala Assembly passed a resolution to repeal the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday wrote to his counterparts in 11 states on the need to save secularism and democracy. In a letter to the chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal, Vijayan said, “Apprehensions have arisen among large sections of our society consequent to the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.”–Agencies