On 26 January, on the Republic Day of India, several millions of people formed a 620 km human chain from the north to the south of Kerala demanding the withdrawal of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA), promulgated in December 2019, provides a path to citizenship for non-Muslim immigrants from the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. However, it has drawn criticism from civil society organizations and the opposition for unfairly excluding Muslims. The Citizenship Amendment Act, combined with the nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), is deemed to be disastrous, not only for the minority Muslims, but also all other Indians.
The human chain event was organised by Left Democratic Front (LDF), a coalition of left-wing political parties led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its leader, the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan.
Another Human chain is going to be created by the Malayalis in Kerala on our Republic Day,2020.
This human chain will be 620 km long to show the protest against #CAA_NRC_NPR and other unconstitutional activities of Sanghis.
From Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram.#CAA_NRCProtests pic.twitter.com/Rb0MANTJXc
— Debasish Paul (@ComradeDebasish) January 25, 2020
The crowd included politicians, cultural activists, religious leaders, artists and concerned citizens. Social media accounts were flooded with colorful images and videos from the protest:
A view from the 620 km long human chain in Kerala to protest against the anti constitutional CAA, NRC & NPR and ‘Hum Dekhenge’ in Malayalam in the background.
Let our PM identity all these people by their dresses :)
— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) January 26, 2020
Note: “Hum Dekhenge” = We will see.
The Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan joined the protests and said in a statement:
The citizenship law will endanger the Constitution and destroy peace in the country since their (the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s) intention is to destroy secularism. We have already declared that Kerala is not the place to accept the new citizenship regime.
He also shared this tweet:
Kerala, in essence, is an argument for equality. The people of this land are unapologetically secular. The #KeralaHumanChain of today is yet another example for our unity. This battle, we will not rest and we shall overcome.#HumanChain pic.twitter.com/W3Hprr7E8t
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) January 26, 2020
Stand up in any way you can. It's necessary#NoCAANoNRC
PHOTOS: Newlyweds, Young Children Take Part In Kerala's Human Chain Against CAA https://t.co/fhGy6zEAm3
— Riddhi Doshi (@riddhi09) January 29, 2020
— FAISAL ALAM🇮🇳 (@FAISALALAM832) January 27, 2020
The Kerala human chain was not allowed to break even in backwaters. Such is the devotion towards constitution. pic.twitter.com/TASApYuqIk
— Ramesh_India (@CommonManInd65) January 28, 2020
— Dibyendu (@Dibyend48970765) January 26, 2020
Republic Day honours the date (26 January 1950) on which the Constitution of India came into effect and turned the nation into a newly formed republic. On this day, India saw protests across the country that accuse the CAA of being detrimental to a key component of the constitutional value system — envisioning a secular India.
— Aamir Siddiqui (@AamirSi11033884) January 27, 2020
🔸Lakhs in a Human Chain in Kerala
🔸11km Human Chain in Kolkata
🔸Republic Day celebrations in Shaheen Bagh
🔸Dalit & Adivasi march in Bengaluru
Anti-CAA-NRC movement grows bigger & bigger. Modi would be tired of seeing pics & identifying crores of people by their clothes 😄 pic.twitter.com/9wxWADKlW0
— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) January 27, 2020
Read our special coverage: Who is paying the cost of India’s declining democracy? for more details on the protests against the citizenship laws in India.