In the wake of ongoing protests across the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), former President Pranab Mukherjee asserted that Indian democracy has been tested time and again and the ongoing protests will enable the further deepening of India’s democratic roots.
While speaking at an event marking 70th anniversary of Election Commission of India’s inception, Mukherjee said it is heartening to see the youth’s belief in the Indian Constitution.
“The last few months have witnessed people come out on the streets in large numbers particularly the young voice and put out their views on issues which in their eyes are important. Their assertion and belief in the Constitution of India is particularly heartening to see,” he said.
Massive protests broke out in the country soon after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in both the houses of the parliament. President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on December 12th, 2020, turning it into an Act.
The CAA grants citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who came to India on or before December 31st, 2014. Those protesting against the law say that the Act is discriminatory and creates a divide on the basis of religion.
The former Union minister and senior Congress leader further said that democracy thrives on listening, deliberating, discussing, arguing and even dissent. “I believe the present wave of largely peaceful protests that have gripped the country shall once again enable further deepening of our democratic roots,” he added.
The Supreme Court on January 22nd, 2020 has refused to grant an interim stay on controversial CAA, NRC and NPR and the government is free to implement those laws. The apex court directed the Centre to file replies against over 140 writ petitions (except those about Assam and Tripura) within four weeks.
Photo credit: Twitter