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Methodised use of anti-CAA may harden nationalist resolve

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There is little doubt that in her zeal to be wilfully outrageous, the 19-year-old Amulya Leona Noronha seriously embarrassed most of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act fraternity when she chanted ‘Pakistan zindabad’ from the podium at a protest rally in Bengaluru. Certainly, the alacrity with which the stalwarts of the protest, including AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, snatched the mike from her indicated the panic.

The disorientation of the anti-CAA lobby is understandable. Since December 13 last year when the protests began, the Muslim community — which has been in the forefront of the anti-Narendra Modi stir — has been at pains to demonstrate that their opposition to the changes in the Citizenship Act is grounded in their status as patriotic Indians. The national flag, the Constitution and photographs of both Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar have been generously used in the rallies and extended dharnas. The national anthem too has been lustily sung on innumerable occasions. Under the circumstances, the teenager’s invocation of Pakistan — whatever may have been its convoluted underlying logic — was clearly outside a set narrative.

Amulya’s zindabad to Pakistan also came within a day of AIMIM national spokesperson Waris Pathan’s boast that 15 crore of Muslims have the ability to make 100 crore others tremble — a threat that most people will undeniably view as both menacing and sinister. Add to this earlier utterances by different protestors espousing either a form of sectarian separatism or praising........

© Free Press Journal