There was a brief verbal duel between the audience and one of the guest speakers at the Journalist Day function organized jointly by the Press Club of Navi Mumbai and the Navi Mumbai Union of Journalists on January 6 at the Vishnudas Bhave Auditorium in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
Keshav Upadhyay, State Chief Spokesman of Bharatiya Janata Party, Adv. Aseem Sarode, constitutional expert and exponent of Human Rights and Social Justice, Professor Dr. Narendra Pathak and Sanjay Awathe, veteran journalist and State editor of Divya Marathi News Group were the guest speakers on the panel at the seminar on Citizenship Amendment Act and its Impact.
The mayor of Navi Mumbai J. D. Sutar, the municipal commissioner Annasaheb Misal and Ganesh Mullay, deputy director – Information and Public Relations, Government of Maharashtra too graced the occasion and conveyed their best wishes to the journalists on the occasion.
A free health check-up camp for senior citizens was conducted on the occasion by Dr. Prashant Thorat and his team of Prabhat Charitable Trust.
Dr. Narendra Pathak reiterated that the CAA does not purport to deny citizenship to anyone, instead it is meant to give citizenship to the religious persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Jews migrated from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh till December 31, 2014.
He detailed the history of the partition and the agreement to protect minorities in both countries, which India followed and Pakistan violated. He narrated the disillusionment of the first law minister of Pakistan, Jogindernath Mandal, who resigned on October 8, 1950 and returned to India.
Stating that every nation has a Citizenship Act, he stated that the present government was only implementing what was started by the present opposition, when they were the ruling party then.
He concluded by referring to Balshastri Jambekar’s call for openness and reform. He pointed out that the faults in any Act can be rectified and appealed to refrain from mis-informing about the Act and de-stabilizing the society. Look at the positives of the Act, he emphasized.
Adv. Aseem Sarode qualified the ongoing strife as a struggle between the Bharatiya Janata and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Questioning the bias against Muslims in the Act, he pointed out at the Articles in the Indian Constitution that makes India a secular nation, where parliament can enact or amend laws without changing the basic structure of the constitution.
He detailed legal points on which the Supreme Court could judge the petition before it against the CAA. Stating that he is a Hindu and his name sounds like a Muslim, he informed that he has faced a lot of harassment in the country just because his name sounded like a Muslim, then one can imagine what the Muslims are confronting.
At this stage, a section of the audience, raised a ruckus and a verbal duel ensued between two factions in the audience. After much effort the guest speakers and the organizers managed to restore peace and resume the seminar.
Keshav Upadhyay countered Sarode by stating statistics of the minority percentage drastically reduced in Pakistan and Bangladesh and increased considerably in India. He also insisted that India is a Hindurashtra, an inclusive Hindurashtra yesterday, today and forever
Sanjay Awathe questioned the amendment when citizenship could be given to the persecuted as per the existing laws. He outlined his idea of India and stressed that when reference is made to exclude one religion in any Act, the character of India is being smeared.
Manoj Jalnawalla, president of the Press Club of Navi Mumbai, Machindra Patil, president of the Navi Mumbai Union of Journalists, Pravin Puro, former president of the Mantralaya Journalists Association, Nandu Thakur, Vikram Gaikwad, Sanjay Mahadik, Manoj Pathak, Gandhale were among the organizing team that conducted the Journalist Day seminar successfully.