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Call to scrap Muslim voting rights may lead to civil war: Aruna Roy

Call to scrap Muslim voting rights may lead to civil war: Aruna Roy

New Delhi: Social activist Aruna Roy on Tuesday called for a public protest against Shiv Sena's demand for revoking Muslims' voting rights, terming it as an "attack" on the constitution that could potentially result in a civil war.

Attacking the Sena mouthpiece "Saamana" that sought withdrawal of voting rights to Muslims as a measure to end vote bank politics, Roy also hit out at Hindu Mahasabha leader Sadhvi Deva Thakur who reportedly suggested Muslims and Christians undergo sterilisation to restrict their growing population that posed a threat to India.

"How do we allow these things to be said in this country? There should be a public protest to say this is something that we don't want. This is an attack on our constitution, which is fundamental. This is going to fracture the country and reduce us to a civil war," she said, while delivering the seventh B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Lecture on "Is unbridled capitalism a threat to constitutional democracy in India".

Exhorting people to "protect dissent at all cost", Roy also expressed concern over the government's move to freeze the accounts of Greenpeace India under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), saying the move indicated the regime's intention to suppress dissent and deny constitutional rights.

"The state is taking an extraordinary position with respect to free speech. It is the constitution that is the collateral victim in the case of Priya Pillai (Greenpeace India employee who was reportedly stopped from going to London) or Greenpeace. We are denying them constitutional rights," she said.

In the interest of equality and justice, constitutional guarantees that she said were being compromised, Roy said the struggle must be kept alive to safeguard the basic structure of the Indian constitution laid down by Ambedkar.

Exuding optimism, she noted that the "way to equality and justice is through demanding and fighting for the dignity of the person. I feel constitution has been kept alive by the struggles in India".

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