On 11th January 2020 at an event organized by Indian consulate (called Hindi Diwas and Pravasi Diwas) at Holiday Inn, 970 Dixon Road, Toronto, Canada wherein Mr. Harivansh Narayan Singh- Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha (and Om Birla, Speaker of the Indian Parliament came later), a protest was organized by a group of concerned Indo-Canadians under the umbrella of Indo-Canadians for Humanity.
We had a great demonstration of our spirit and steel and also of the fear and cowardice of Indian administration. We entered the event wearing Gandhi and Ambedkar on our chest, a mark of an India that respects secularism, inclusiveness and its constitution.
I was the first one to enter and within minutes of my taking out my jacket, the Indian consulate official came to me and asked me to leave. Upon my insistence that it is an event open to public and also an event to mark the Pravasi day and that I am sitting silently and listening to the speakers and that if they still wish to throw me out then they should call the cops to throw me out, he withdrew.
But later when my one of our lady co-protester, entered with the rest of the group, they tried to block the group and also kept on asking her to leave. She told them that we are not here for creating any chaos but just wish to sit and watch the program silently with Gandhi/Amebedkar on our shirts to register a protest against the happenings in India right now (against CAA/NRC and the violence unleashed on ordinary citizens). However they did not listen and tried to push and manhandle. They even tried to snatch the camera from one of the protester who was silent and just recording. Then they told her that children are also there and upon hearing that request, she agreed to move out with the group.
We all got up and were standing near the exit discussing among us, when they came rushing and tried to use their physical strength and roughen us, manhandle us and push us out. That’s when we put our foot down and told them clearly that we will not leave and this is Canada and they cannot touch us or push us around. We also told them that if they touch us again, we will call the cops and that we will only leave of our own free will as we had done nothing wrong. Also it was they who were causing chaos and causing commotion and not us.
Then the CGI approached us and on seeing her talking to us, a few of the officials again tried aggressive behavior. She tried to soften them and also spoke to us and we told her unequivocally that we are just silent observers and will not leave. However we decided among ourselves that our protest was widely registered decided to leave. While leaving we sang Inquilab Jindabad to let them know that we will not be silent. When we came out, they immediately locked the doors inside as they were in fear. We sang the national anthem outside and then left the place peacefully.
I am sure the echo of this protest will reach Delhi in no uncertain terms.
Below is a link to the video which shows the last 6 minutes of our protest and how we were treated. All this happened in the presence of Dy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Harivansh Naryan Singh and he was speaking as Chief Guest and watching when the organizers came to me to asked me to leave. Later the entire agitation, he watched from the front row. Not even once did he try to tell the organizers to let us exercise our democratic right and sit in silence. Nor did the CGI or any of the staff allow us to sit peacefully and were hell bent on shutting us out as they did not want us present when Om Birla would enter the hall.
We are sharing the below link and a few photographs to register our protest and to let the world know that we stand firm together to lend our support to the voiceless who will suffer/ are suffering due to the discriminatory CAA and also the expected implementation of NPR/NRC.
United we stand in our struggle for justice.
Link to video-