Black balloons greeted Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday in Bihar’s Gaya district, where he addressed a public meeting on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). The U.P. CM lashed out at Opposition parties for ‘misinforming’ people about the CAA and creating chaos in the country.
Asserting that the CAA was not for ‘snatching citizenship but was instead aimed at ‘giving citizenship’ to people, Mr. Adityanath contended that while India’s Muslims enjoyed equal citizenship rights, the Hindu minorities in Pakistan had been ill-treated. “The population of Indian Muslims multiplied several times in India but the Hindu population in Pakistan came down from about 20% to less than 4% and this new law, CAA, will provide justice to such Hindus who are compelled to leave Pakistan for religious persecution and oppression,” he asserted.
Midway through his speech at the Gandhi Maidan, a bunch of black balloons rose up above the northern side of the ground and dotted the skyline, catching everyone’s attention. Mr. Adityanath, however, ignored the balloons and continued his address.
The meeting, which was a part of the BJP’s effort to explain the new law to the people, was attended by all the senior party leaders of Bihar including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, State party chief Sanjay Jaiswal, and minister Prem Kumar. The event was interspersed with full-throated shouts of “Jai Shri Ram” by a band of youth dressed in saffron and seated in the front row of the audience.
A short distance from the venue of this meeting, hundreds of protesters organized under the banner of the Samvidhan Bachao Morcha (Save Constitution Forum) continued their sit-in dharna for the 17th day against the CAA and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) at Gaya’s Shanti Bagh.
“Ours is a peaceful 24×7 protest and a day before U.P. CM’s visit here, we’d requested the district administration to ensure our security apprehending trouble by those coming to attend the meeting,” convener of the forum, Omair Khan told The Hindu. “A huge amount of resentment is building… against this discriminatory law CAA and proposed exercises like NRC and NPR” in Gaya, he asserted.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah too is likely to visit Vaishali in Bihar on January 16, as part of the party’s outreach to dispel ‘misgivings’ about the CAA.