A wing of the Goa Church and other organisations have planned a public meeting against the CAA-NRC-NPR regime on Friday in Margao town in South Goa. The meeting will be organised on the Lohia Maidan by the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), a wing of the Goa Church, the NationalConfederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO) and the Concerned Citizens for Goa, a CSJP office-bearer told reporters in Margao on Wednesday.
"The meeting is organised with the objective to condemn the Union government's act of endangering the Constitution. We will register our total disapproval of the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR)," said CSJP executive secretary Fr Savio Fernandes.
He said these laws will affect Goans as much other Indians, "as many locals don't possess birth certificates to prove their citizenship". When asked about persecution of Christians in Pakistan over their faith, Fernandes said, "there is a possibility that these Christians might not even come to India, but would prefer Western countries, if they want to settle down".
The CAA grants Indian citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jain refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who fled to India on or before December 31, 2014 due to religious persecution. Protests have been going on in different parts of the country against the new law. Fernandes appealed to the government to listen to "the voice of the people and withdraw the CAA".
"After withdrawing the CAA, the government can then engage in wider consultations if it still wishes to proceed with any form of legislation regarding citizenship," he said.
Rajan Soloman, working president, NCHRO, said the CAA in its present form is unacceptable and Constitutionally void.
"It is for the first time since Partition that people cutting across all religions and social formations are holding protests on streets. The CAA is a threat to democracy and secularism," he said.
Concern Citizens of Goa president Samir Shaikh questioned the "real intention" of the government behind bringing the CAA. The Congress and other opposition parties have been opposing the CAA, calling it a precursor to implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).