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Protesters in Shaheen Bagh pay homage to Pulwama martyrs, Anurag Kashyap chips in


New Delhi, Feb 15: Anti-citizenship law protestors at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh on Friday paid homage to Pulwama martyrs and observed a one-minute silence for the soldiers as they continued their demonstration that is now in its third month.

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School children presented dance performances on patriotic songs as the hundreds of people gathered there extended their respects to the 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel who were killed in a terrorist attack on the Jammu-Srinagar highway at Lethpora in Pulwama on February 14, 2019.

Protestors at south-east Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, which has now become symbolic of the resistance against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), had on Thursday extended an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inviting him to come and celebrate Valentine's Day with them.

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, a fierce critic of the BJP government, also joined the protestors here on Friday. He met the famed Dadis of the protest and also relished some biryani - the famous dish that has become a subject of contention between those in favour of and opposed to the CAA and NRC across the country.

Kashyap took to the stage and asked protestors to not give any reason to those in power to evacuate them from the site. "When you fight for your rights, it is important that you stick with your truth. Don't give them any chance that they can violently remove you from here... They do not understand the language of love. This is the only way to fight with them because they themselves do not know what they want," he said.

He also took potshots at Home Minister Amit Shah during his speech, saying he personally would not believe whatever the government claimed about the CAA.

"If we are misinformed, come and explain it to us," Kashyap said, hailing the protestors for continuing the demonstration which started on December 15. Sonu Warsi, a protestor, told PTI, "Around 4 pm, scores of children performed on patriotic songs and we paid tributes to the Pulwama martyrs with the national anthem.

A one-minute silence was observed later in the evening by all present at the site in respect of the martyrs." Quazi Emad Ahmad, a local, said children and youths rang in the Valentine's Day at midnight, hoping the prime minister would accept their invitation and reach out to them.

Protests had unfolded in Shaheen Bagh, Zakir Nagar, Jamia Nagar, Khureji Khas and other places in the national capital and elsewhere across the country in December to oppose the CAA and the NRC.

According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but will be given Indian citizenship.

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The law excludes Muslims. Those opposing the law contend that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA along with the NRC is intended to target the Muslim community in India.

However, the central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not to take away citizenship from anyone.

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