Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha on Saturday announced a nationwide `Yatra' (tour) to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register. The campaign, organised under the banner of his organisation Rashtra Manch, will be called `Gandhi Shanti Yatra', Sinha told reporters. Former MP Shatrughan Sinha and former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta were also present on this occasion.
The Yatra will start at Mumbai's Apollo Bunder on January 9, pass through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Harayana and Delhi and cover a distance of over 3,000 km, Yashwant Sinha said.
It will culminate at the Raj Ghat in Delhi on January 30, Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary. Accusing BJP-ruled states for using violence to suppress peaceful protests against the CAA and NRC, he blamed the government for disturbing peace across the country.
Mehta appealed people and organisations in Gujarat to take the lead to make the campaign a success. The CAA was unconstitutional, discriminated against a community and was meant to humiliate it, the former Gujarat CM said, demanding that it be scrapped and the NRC and NPR should not be implemented.
Calling the police crackdown on anti-CAA protesters in Uttar Pradesh "state-sponsored terrorism", he said the Yatra was going there specifically to protest against the police's high-handedness.
"Dekhna hai zor kitna baju-e kaatil mein hai (We want to see how powerful is the oppressor)," he said. Other organisations should also take out similar
Yatras converging at the Raj Ghat at 11 AM on January 30, he said.
Actor-turned politician and former BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha said, "We have suffered so much that now we are embarking on a `safar' (journey). "We are against the government's policies, we are standing up for the Constitution," he said. The CAA provides citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries, but excludes Muslims, Shatrughan 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.