Mumbai Jan. 9
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar flagged off former Union minister Yashwant Sinha’s 3,000 km, long nationwide “anti-CAA/NRC/NPR” yatra from Gateway of India in South Mumbai on Thursday.
BBM leader and Dr B R Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar, former Maharashtra Chief Minister and present MLA Prithviraj Chavan (Congress) and others were present.
Speaking to media, Sinha said that his yatra has been organised to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens(NRC) and the National Population Register(NPR), under the banner of “Rashtra Manch”. In fact it is `Gandhi Shanti Yatra’, which will culminate at Raj Ghat in New Delhi on 30 January, 2020 and added that during the yatra the people will be urged not to give information to enumerators for NPR. Sinha, said that the figure of 5 per cent GDP given by the Union government is questionable, budgetary figures are manipulated, agro and rural sectors have been ruined. Now the US-Iran strife is going to seriously affect oil economy and eventually our balance of payment.
He accused the BJP-ruled States of using violence to suppress protests against the CAA and blamed the government for disturbing peace. He said that he is going to demand a judicial probe into the recent violence at JNU. He also demanded that the CAA be repealed and an announcement made by the Union Government that CAA-NPR-NRC will not be implemented. Calling the police crackdown on UP’s “state sponsored terrorism” he said that the yatra is specifically going to UP to protest the police high handedness. “We are not scared, we will see,” he said.
The yatra will pass through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Harayana and Delhi and would end at the Raj Ghat in Delhi on January 30, Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary.
The former Gujarat Chief Minister Sureshbhai Mehta has endorsed Sinha’s view and appealed to the people and organisations from Gujarat to take the lead in making the Yatra successful. Besides actor and former Union Minister Shatrughan Sinha is supporting the cause.
In a press conference held earlier this week, Shatrughan Sinha had said that “We have suffered so much that now we are embarking on a ‘safar’ (travel)’. We are against the government’s policies. Other organisations should also take out similar Yatras converging at the Raj Ghat at 11 AM on January 30, he had said.
“We are against the government’s policies, we are standing up for the Constitution. The CAA provides citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries, but excludes Muslims, Sinha said, adding that it “seems to be a ploy to distract attention from the issues the country is facing. The CAA would be as bad as demonetisation, he said, asking what was the need to bring in such a law without consulting experts or even senior leaders of the BJP and opposition’, he had said.
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, Yashwant Sinha, Prakash Ambedkar, Prithviraj Chavan and others at the Gateway of India.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]