Kolkata: Days after demanding that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) be scrapped, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Monday called for unity in opposing the Act, saying “if there is no unity, protests won’t work”.
“For any kind of protest, opposition unity is important. Then protests become easier. Unity is important if the protest is for a proper cause,” Sen said while answering journalists over the countrywide CAA-NPR-NRC protests.
“But even if unity is not there, then that doesn’t mean we will stop protesting. As I said, unity makes protest easier but if unity is not there still we have to move on and do whatever is necessary,” Sen said.
However, he said even in the absence of opposition unity, protests can continue.
The economist’s remarks came on a day when several big parties skipped a meeting of the Opposition to discuss the contentious law, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the ongoing protests in several parts of the country.
Supporting Sen’s statement, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “Amartyaji is right. The problem is that the Opposition parties are agreed on national issues, but divided in their various states. This is why it is difficult to assemble all of them on a common platform or front; they tend to put their local interests first. So BJP wins w/ 37%.”
Amartyaji is right. The problem is that the Opposition parties are agreed on national issues, but divided in their various states. This is why it is difficult to assemble all of them on a common platform or front; they tend to put their local interests first. So BJP wins w/ 37%. https://t.co/94JUCfTBNY— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor)
January 13, 2020
Earlier, speaking at Nabanita Deb Sen Memorial Lecture, Sen said viewing oppositional reasoning as quarrelsome would be a big mistake. “It is necessary to emphasise the subtleties of the innovative forces of the opposition… We need to know more about what I am protesting about. The head must also join with the heart in protest,” Sen said in his speech.
“When there seems to be a big mistake in the Constitution or human rights, there will surely be reasons to protest,” Sen said.
Deb Sen, who passed away at her Kolkata residence last November, was the economist’s first wife.
A few days ago, Sen, who has been critical of the Narendra Modi-led Union government, said the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act should be scrapped.
“I think the CAA must be scrapped because it cannot be an Act … That’s the job of the Supreme Court to see whether what was passed in Parliament can be legally attached to the Constitution,” the Nobel laureate had said.
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