India

Mumbai "Cricket Lovers" Protest Against CAA During India-Australia Match

Mumbai

Anti-CAA protest: We firmly believe sports and politics cannot be separate, a protester said.

Mumbai:

Wearing white T-shirts and carrying the national flag, a large group of students today used the India-Australia cricket match at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium as a platform to raise their voice against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register. The unique agitation took place despite the authorities reportedly taking measures to prevent any demonstration at the iconic stadium.

The students with black letters embossed on their T-shirts managed to give the stadium security a slip. During the match, they stuck together, delivering their message- "No CAA, No NRC, No NPR"- to the massive crowd of spectators.

"Mumbai students, who are also the majority of cricket lovers in a stadium game, decided to take their CAA protest to the game they love and enjoy. The nature of the constitutional crisis the CAA poses demands bigger and larger audiences, something like an India-Australia cricket match offers. It was essential that the audiences and cricket lovers the world over know what kind of human rights crisis India is facing," Fahad Ahmad, a Tata Institute of Social Sciences student and one of the organisers of the protest, said in a statement.

"For once, we firmly believe sports and politics cannot be separate. Who knows, we may not be able to watch cricket the way we do once NRC and CAA comes into effect in India," he added.

Mr Ahmad in the statement called CAA "unconstitutional". He said "NPR and NRC" were "anti-poor and anti-minority".

The authorities reportedly asked a few spectators wearing black clothes to cover themselves with the national flag. A spectator was also asked to take off his black cap.

The CAA, which makes religion a criteria for Indian citizenship for the first time, was passed last month in the parliament. Critics say the citizenship law, combined with nationwide NRC, can be used to target Muslims. The government, however, says the two exercises are not linked, and there have been no discussion on countrywide citizens' list.

Several people were killed in violent protests against the law in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam.

Students of universities at several cities, including Mumbai, had also protested against the law, after the Delhi police cracked down on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia during an anti-CAA protest.

The government has blamed the opposition for misleading people on the law.