Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan forms a human chain as he participates in an anti-CAA protest in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala (Image: PTI)
A 620-km-long human chain from the northern part of Kerala to the south was formed on January 26 — Republic day — by the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), demanding withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The LDF organised the human chain from Kasaragod in north Kerala to Kaliyakkavilai in the southernmost part of the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI leader Kanam Rajendran joined the protest in Thiruvananthapuram. Vijayan, who became part of the human chain in the capital city along with his family, thanked those who had joined the protest and said the state has stood as one against the CAA.
"Today the whole Kerala stood as one and protested. I would like to thank everyone who joined in this protest. But it's not the time to rest. We need to continue our protest. We had made it clear that CAA, NPR and NRC will not be implemented in the state. We demand scrapping of the CAA. This law is a danger to the country, its secularism," Vijayan said in a public meeting after the human chain. Vijayan said the state had been protesting against the CAA since the day it was passed in Parliament.
"Lakhs of people took to the streets to protest against this Act. We are registering our strong protest without any violence. And today, at most places, the human chain became a human wall," the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister said though the human chain was called by the Left parties, they had invited everyone opposed to CAA and those who wished to protect the Constitution.
Former MLA from Jammu and Kashmir, Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, took part in the human chain at Malappuram.
The LDF claimed that around 75 lakh people participated in the human chain. The human chain was formed at 4.00 pm, following which the preamble of the Constitution was read out.
An oath was also taken to protect the Constitution from the "attempts of the Central government" to destroy it. Senior CPI(M) leader S Ramachandran Pillai was the first link of the 620-km-long human chain at Kasaragod, while M A Baby was the last link at Kaliyakkavilai. Many prominent personalities from all walks of life participated in the human chain.
Other leaders of the Left Front took part in the human chain at various places in the state.
Many Muslim outfits also joined the protest. Though the Left had invited the Congress-led United Democratic Front to join the protest, they stayed away. Meanwhile, a BJP worker attempted to commit suicide near the human wall at Kollam district.
"He rushed towards the protest area shouting 'Vande Matharam' and attempted to slit his wrist. He was admitted to the hospital immediately," police said.
Police suspect him to be mentally unstable. The Left front has been in the forefront of anti-CAA protests in Kerala and had organised various protests across the state.
A joint protest gathering, held by the LDF and opposition Congress-headed UDF, against the Act held on December 16 had caught the national attention as the arch political rivals shed their ideological differences and joined hands for a common cause.