Holding the tricolour in their hands and raising slogans, thousands of people, including Muslims, marched on the streets in Hyderabad city in protest against the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register.
Following a call given by the Joint Action Committee of around 40 Muslim and non-Muslim groups and social organisations, people from all districts of Telangana and also from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka descended on the city to participate in the protest rally named ‘Million March’ by the organisers.
The Hyderabad police, following a directive from the high court, gave conditional permission to hold a meeting at Dharna Chowk at Indira Park. The protestors flooded the main thoroughfares from all parts of the city to reach the Dharna Chowk, where the march culminated into a brief public meeting.
The main roads in the city, including the busy Tank Bund road on the banks of Hussain Sagar, Telugu Talli flyover and Liberty circle on the western side, Charminar and Abids on the southern side and RTC crossroads on the eastern side of the city were packed with crowds as they moved towards Dharna Chowk.
As the crowds started swelling at Dharna Chowk, it became difficult for the police to control the mob. They were forced to open the gates of the adjacent NTR stadium, which was filled with the protestors within minutes.
‘It was a huge success, as people from all walks of life, including students from various universities and colleges, engineers, lawyers, doctors and people from the business community took part in the Million March. It was undoubtedly one of the largest demonstrations the city had ever witnessed in recent years,’ JAC convenor and Tehreek-e-Muslim Shabban (TMS) president Mustaq Malik said.
A large number of Muslim women, including students and housewives, were seen raising slogans and even conducting prayers at the Dharna Chowk.
The participants, holding tricolours, banners and placards saying ‘No to CAA, NRC and NPR,’ raised slogans against the Narendra Modi government for allegedly trying to divide the society on communal lines. Slogans like ‘Inquilab Zindabad,’ ‘We want Azadi from dictatorship,’ ‘Unite against hate,’ and ‘We reject NRC,’ rent the air.
‘Not Hindus. Not Muslims. Not Jains. Not Sikhs. Not Christians. Not Parsees. Not Buddhists. ONLY INDIANS. India united against hate,’ – read a banner at the rally.
‘The real issues are economy, education and health and not Hindu-Muslim, Pakistan and NRC,’ read another banner.
As a mark of solidarity with the protesters, several shops and business establishments in the Old City of Hyderabad were shut and the traders took part in the rally.
According to Malik, people from far-off places like Adilabad and Nizamabad, too, came down to Hyderabad to take part in the rally. ‘The participants surpassed our expectations,’ he said.
Majlis-e-Bachao Tehreek president Amanullah Khan appealed to the people to reject the CAA, NRC and NPR and asked them not to part with any information with regard to their citizenship details with the authorities.