The fight against the new citizenship law is "not just the issue of Muslims" but concerns all Indians and there should be a sustained struggle against the legislation, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi has claimed.
"Why should I stand in queue and tell that I am an Indian? I have been born in this land. I am a citizen (of India). All 100 crore Indians have to stand in queue (to submit proof of citizenship). This is not just the issue of Muslims but an issue concerning all Indians. I am telling 'Modi-bhakts' also. You also have to stand in queue and bring documents," the Hyderabad MP said late Saturday night.
At a meeting organised by the United Muslim Action Committee, an umbrella body of various Muslim groups at Darussalam, the headquarters of AIMIM in the city, Owaisi asserted that Indian Muslims had chosen to remain India at the time of partition by rejecting "Jinnah's two-nation theory".
Claiming that BJP cited the existence of many Islamic nations, he asked what does he have to do with them.
"I am concerned about India and only India and my love is only with India. (You say) so many Islamic countries! You go there. Why are you telling me," he said.
"I am Indian by choice and also by birth... If you want to fire bullets, fire. Your bullets would finish, but my love for India would not end. Our endeavour is to not hit but save the country," he said.
The fight of Indian Muslims is for respect as they are being doubted even after 70 years, which, he said, is an insult.
Owaisi, who said the campaign is to "save" the Constitution, also appealed to all Indians, who are against NRC and CAA to hoist the national flag on their homes from Sunday which will send out a message against the fascist forces and that it is the house of someone who loved his country.
Reading out the Preamble of the Constitution, he made the participants repeat it and asked them to not resort to any kind of violence.
The meeting, attended by thousands of people, began with the national anthem and concluded with Owasi's speech after midnight.
A number of speakers, including students Aysha Renna and Labeeda Farzana, who are being described as the face of anti-CAA protests, and Aman Wadud, a human rights lawyer from Assam, spoke at the meeting.
According to Owaisi, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said 5.40 lakh Bengali Hindus in Assam will get citizenship through CAA, but five lakh Muslims would be deprived of the same.
"Why are we protesting? We are protesting because, in the country, in the name of religion, preparation is being made to make us not just second-class citizens but stateless," he claimed, adding it is a loss for everyone.
The fight against CAA and NRC would be a long-drawn campaign as Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are not routine politicians, he said. The campaign against them can succeed only through political and democratic activity, he said.
The fight is not over with just one meeting and the same momentum has to be kept alive for at least six-seven months, he felt. He stressed on ensuring that the agitation remains non-violent for it to achieve its goal.
He urged Prime Minister Modi to remove the word religion from religious minorities while granting citizenship to refugees under CAA. It is wrong to make laws on the basis of religion, he claimed.
He also said, why Modi has so much hatred.
Owaisi slammed the Aligarh Muslim University vice chancellor for allegedly writing to police to use appropriate force on protesters.
Hitting out at Jamia Millia Islamia vice chancellor, Owaisi claimed that her loyalty was not towards the students but towards (a functionary) of RSS.
He appealed to those who attended the meeting to not leave the path of non-violence even if I die in this fight or even if someone fired a bullet at him.
Asking the gathering to carry on the struggle in a non-violent way, he said they should tell, if anyone tyrannizes, that (such) person is "children of Godse".
"There should be no violence. If anybody tyrannizes, say you are children of Godse'...and we are those following the Constitution," he said.
Thanking the government of K Chandrasekhar Rao in Telangana for having opposed the CAB in parliament, he, however, urged him to stay the implementation of National Population Register (NPR) on the lines of Kerala government. The NRC is being implemented through the NPR, he claimed.
He asked Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy to reconsider his support to the NDA government on CAA.
The meeting demanded that all the cases booked against protesters and students be unconditionally withdrawn.
Owaisi said the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (January 30), March 23 when Bhagat Singh was hanged and the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar on April 14 be observed as Save Constitution Day'.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar has suspended two police constables on charge of "involving in improper" conduct on social media after one of them allegedly made "vulgar" comments against "two" women participants attending the protest-meeting at AIMIM's headquarters.
A group of people also filed a complaint against the police constable over the matter.