Defacing public property in the name of CAA, NRC?

Hyderabad: The Million March is being lauded across Hyderabad for peacefully carrying out the protest without major hiccups. However, several denizens have begun to complain that some have taken to vandalism of public property, in the heat of protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

One of the photos documenting this vandalism has been doing the rounds on social media. The graffiti, located on a flyover at Malakpet says, “Reject NRC, Reject CAA, Reject Constitution, Reject Democracy, Become True Muslim.”

Although the Million March witnessed slogans that upheld the Constitution, the Indian flag and values of secularism, graffiti such as these portray a different picture. Whether this was done by protestors, or miscreants who want to spark trouble remains unclear.

Several protestors are discussing as to whether they should register a complaint with the police. Some have also suggested that the graffiti be erased, keeping in view that it could discredit the movement further. Others have suggested that the police search the CCTV footage so that the “culprits” may be caught.

Condemning the vandalism on public property, Abdullah Faiz, one of the protestors who had turned up at Dharna Chowk yesterday said, “Peace, non-violence and social engagement are the strongest tools to continue our resistance movements, and the power is always afraid of the peaceful movements. The biggest threat to our movement is violence and loss to public property even in its minimal sense. A single slogan, placard or wall writing is against the peaceful and democratic values of a civilised society.”

Speaking to NewsMeter about the graffiti splayed over public property, Arjun Ramachandran, who has been a part of anti-CAA protests said, “Graffiti has to be seen as an expression of the anger of the people, rather than ‘defacing’ of public property. If one is going purely on the value of the property defaced, then again there are other bigger, senseless losses being caused to public property. What about the property that has been attacked and damaged by the police themselves?” The Jamia student further reminded that it was always the right-wing’s argument to bring in the torching of buses, whenever students talk about the violence perpetrated against them by Delhi police.

“In all cases, it is the usual tactic of the state or people who want to discredit the movement to turn against protesters for such acts, while plainly ignoring the violence committed on protestors,” said Aysha Rahima, one of the protestors.

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