New Delhi: Condemning the acts of violence that have taken place in the wake of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Bar Council of India (BCI) has passed a resolution appealing to the people to maintain peace and harmony.
The resolution, passed Sunday, asked lawyers and leaders of the BCI to help dispel confusion regarding the CAA and defuse “disturbances and violence in the country”.
It has, however, drawn criticism too as it called a section of the protesters “illiterate ignorant mass” who need to be convinced that “the matter with regard to CAA is under consideration of the Supreme Court”.
“…everyone should await the decision of the Apex Court,” said the statement.
The resolution signed by BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the “illiterate ignorant mass” were being “misled by so-called leaders (for serving their own political ambitions)”.
‘BCI chairman should resign’
Criticising the BCI’s statement, Chitranshul Sinha, an advocate and author, said, “The BCI does not speak for me. I think it’s high time that Mishra (Manan Kumar Mishra) resigns.”
After a copy of the signed resolution was posted on Twitter, several users condemned the BCI’s stance.
"illiterate ignorant mass"… that's how the Bar Council describes citizens? https://t.co/j1DWh68HoW
— menaka doshi (@menakadoshi) December 22, 2019
The Manan Mishra is a well known stooge and shady character. Has been exposed many times. Sorry Bar Council of India- not in my name https://t.co/uDAzINf4LI
— DarkSaber (@toy_vader) December 22, 2019
— अंशुल (@Ghair_Kanooni) December 22, 2019
— Prashant (@ekkirdar) December 22, 2019
What the BCI resolution says
The resolution condemned the destruction of public property during the agitation. “They (lawyers) should try to convince the people and the common man to enhance the feeling of brotherhood in the society. Anyone involved in the acts of violence should be brought to the notice of the administration,” Manan Kumar Mishra said in the statement.
The protests against CAA had turned violent in several parts of the country, with reports that least 17 people have died, including an eight-year-old, vehicles burnt and cars destroyed.
Criticising the alleged attack on police forces and other armed personnel, the BCI also said the legal fraternity “cannot tolerate any attack on or humiliation” of the forces. “…The bar expresses solidarity with our police and armed forces”.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 11 December, making way for an amendment to the Citizenship Act of 1955. The Bill makes way for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan eligible for Indian citizenship. But it doesn’t facilitate the same for Muslim immigrants.
Calling the law “anti-secular”, agitators across India have taken to the streets, asking for the CAA to be repealed. Section 144 was imposed in certain parts, including in all of Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, on 19 December.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Sunday met two of those killed in the violence. The party, led by Rahul Gandhi, is also set to organise a dharna against the CAA at Rajghat Monday.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the agitating Muslim community and others Sunday that there has been no discussion on the National Register of Citizens in his government.