Cine Ink probes: Who’s leading India-wide demonstrations against the new Citizenship law? What’s the purpose of such demos? Who’s coordinating them? How long will the demos continue?

“This is for the first time, since Babri Masjid/Ram Janam Bhumi issue, Muslims have demonstrated at this scale. However, the larger group of the people on streets is represented by Non-Muslims. And, that’s the biggest dilemma for the government as they don’t know how to deal with it,” says activist Rahul Roy who is involved in the demonstrations taking place against the Citizenship Amendment Act of India.

“The govt. could have handled a Muslim problem easily as this govt plays on optics. That’s why the govt would like it to see the problem as a Hindu-Muslim issue,” says Roy.

Rahul Roy, documentary film maker, along with his wife, Saba Dewan, has been involved in a campaign ‘Not in My Name’, a collective to protest against communalism and inequality. He is also a part of ‘Artists Unite’, a platform of artists who have come together to defend democracy.

Rahul Roy is in conversation with Pervaiz Alam.

“People have come on streets on their own, without having any organisational basis or leadership. The movement is organic. Each individual demonstrating on streets is a leader responding to one’s conscience call,” says Rahul Roy.

“This govt believes in a Hindu Rashtra but the main obstacle for them is the secular constitution of India. They want to dilute it,” claims Rahul Roy.

Roy defines the resistance against CAA as a constitutional nationalist movement.

“The passion with which people are actually talking about India and its constitution is something, I don’t think, has ever happened in the country,” says Rahul Roy.

Roy clarifies “The movement is not targeted to bring this govt down. Nor, it is making a case for another political party. One clear and big understated aim of this movement is a battle of truth vs lie.”

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), for the first time, makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.

Rahul Roy did his masters in Film and TV production from the Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in 1987. His work has focused on communalism, labour and masculinities. His films have been widely screened internationally and won several awards.

He has also been researching and writing on masculinities. His graphic book on masculinities titled ‘A Little Book on Men’, has been published by Yoda Press.


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