File image: Congress leader P Chidambaram
Amid pan-India agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday called for raising the "level of protests", saying "as long as freedoms are denied to any number of people, the whole population is denied freedom".
Greeting the people on the occasion of 71st Republic Day, he said the soul of the Constitution lies in the freedoms guaranteed in part three of the document.
These freedoms were given by the people unto themselves and no government can take them away, the former home minister said in a series of tweets.
"Remember that today as we think of the 70 lakh people of the Kashmir valley whose freedoms have been taken away, including those in custody for over six months without charges. Add to that the outrageous charges, including sedition, slapped against hundreds of protesters by the authoritarian government," he said.
Among those still in custody in Kashmir are former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar.
"As long as freedoms are denied to any part of the people, the whole of the population is denied freedom," Chidambaram tweeted, adding, "As we raise the flag today, let us also raise the level of protest."
Besides Delhi, protests have unfolded in several parts of the country against the amended Citizenship Act since it was passed in Parliament on December 11 and have led to clashes at several places.
According to the amended law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 due to religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.