The anti-CAA, anti-NRC protests which had engulfed sporadic parts of the country until the onset of deadly coronavirus outbreak in early March this year, may resume as the Supreme Court lawyer Mehmood Pracha and one of the proponents of the demonstrations revealed that efforts are underway to resume the protests from August 15.
Speaking to news media organisations, Pracha said that the unlock stage of the coronavirus lockdown has reached a stage where the government is practically allowing almost all activities to recommence. He added that in such a scenario, protests against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizen can also start again.
Pracha, who was in Aligarh, said, “The anti-CAA, anti-NRC protests had stopped in the view of the coronavirus outbreak that was spreading across the world, including India. Now, we are at an advance stage of unlocking and the central government is encouraging all activities to restart and issuing guidelines for the same. Hence the movement that was stalled due to coronavirus lockdown can be resumed as well.”
Pracha is planning to visit major cities to rally people’s support for the anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests. Starting out from Aligarh, Pracha said that the message conveyed from Aligarh travels all over the country and the world and therefore it is a very special for kickstarting the protest again.
The Supreme Court advocate also cited the permission granted for Jagannath Yatra in Puri where the administration had allowed the temple Sevayats to carry on the annual ritual. On the similar lines, he had demanded from the apex court of the country permission for a Muharram processions in compliance with the government’s coronavirus guidelines. Pracha argued that exemption that can be exercised for one religion can be applied for other religions too.
Mehmood Pracha had featured on a pro-ISIS publication
While the Supreme Court advocate is planning to restart the anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests across the country, it is important to dwell upon the chequered history of the man who was the poster boy for a pro-ISIS media outlet and is accused of fanning communal hatred in the past.
As India was going through a communal turmoil, with the national capital of the country in the throes of bloody anti-Hindu riots earlier in February 2020, a publication titled ‘Voice of Hind’ was issued by Al-Qitaal Media Center and Junudul Khilafah al-Hind, featuring Mahmood Pracha on its cover page. The cover was titled So, Muslims, where are you going? It was featured with a subtitle “A call to the Muslims of India”.
The magazine had praised slain terrorists in Kashmir. It had also urged the Muslims to reject the idea of an Indian nation state and fight for the ‘caliphate’ instead.
Mehmood Pracha had called for raising of an armed militia
In addition to this, Mehmood Pracha has also been accused of exhorting Muslims to take up arms. In a press conference last year, Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad and Mehmood Paracha announced that they would be setting up a camp in Lucknow to teach Muslims and Dalits about the ‘right to self-defence’ and how to apply for a firearm licence.
Mahmood Pracha had cited the incidents of mob lynchings and the Sonbhadra massacre as reasons for conducting the camp. According to him, those events wouldn’t have occurred if the victims had legal firearms to defend themselves. They were basically planning to raise an armed militia to combat ‘mob lynchings’, using licenced weapons. Later, Mahmood Paracha was seen holding that training camp inside a Lucknow Mosque where he was training Muslims about how to fill forms for licences and acquire firearms, even though an FIR had been registered against him for his incendiary speech.