MUMBAI: Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the financial capital against the Citizenship Act on Thursday, converging at the August Kranti Maidan, where Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 told the British to quit India.
The gathering included workers of political parties, students and a smattering of Bollywood personalities, who made out a strong case against the Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Despite it being a work day, the protestors began trickling in from all the corners this afternoon to the ground in south Mumbai, from where the Mahatma had given the clarion call of Quit India against the colonial British rule.
Protests have engulfed Delhi, parts of the north eastern states, especially Assam, spreading to other parts in the country where students and others have been relentlessly agitating against CAA and NRC (National Register of Citizens).
Protesters say the CAA is communal and discriminates against the followers of Islam.
The protest in Mumbai was called by a slew of opposition parties like the CPI and civil society groups, but the gathering seemed to transcend all identities.
Students from Assam, a few Mumbaikars hailing from Mizoram and others joined the locals in the protests that began at 4 pm and dwarfed a pro-CAA gathering organised outside the Churchgate railway station not far away.
Bollywood personalities including actors Farhan Akhtar, Sushant Singh, Swara Bhaskar and film makers Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Saeed Mirza were also present at the Maidan.
Addressing the gathering, Mirza said the time has come for Indians to choose between the ideas espoused by RSS founder Golwalkar and B R Ambedkar, and between Mahatma Gandhi and his killer Nathuram Godse.
Picking up from Modis controversial statement on identifying a protester from clothing, Ayesha, a student leader from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences here said one can identify a communal person from the khaki shorts and white shirt worn by Godse.
Award-winning film maker Anand Patwardhan, senior BJP leader L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and activist Teesta Setalvad were also present.
But it was the common people, and the wit that dripped from their specially made placards that stole the show.
Most of the humour was targeted at the PM and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Throwing their wrists in the air with slogans like Modi Shah se azaadi and with anger in their voice, the protesters marched towards the Maidan in Grant Road.
Noted freedom fighter G G Parikh, 94, who participated in the Quit India movement in 1942, was present at the Maidan.
Also in attendance were politicians Raj Babbar, Hussain Dalwai and Milind Deora.
College students, IT professionals and members of various communities also participated in the protest.
Protesters shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
"Tanashahi nahi chalegi (dictatorship won't work)," they said.
Thousands of students from various parts of the city, members of various communities and political parties were seen marching towards the Maidan carrying placards, banners and handbills in their hands.
Some of the placards read "Hindu-Muslim ek hain, Modi Shah fake hain, "Sab taj uchhale jayenge, sab takht giraye jayenge", "Kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hain" and "Stop dividing India".
Similar protests were held in Pune, Nagpur and various other cities in Maharashtra.
Members of Muslim community organised anti-CAA protests in Malegaon in Nashik district and at Paratwada in Amravati distrit.
In Jalgaon, Left parties held a protest march to the district collectorate to oppose the Act.
A morcha was held in Aurangabad against the Act.
Anti-CAA protests were also held in Kolhapur and Osmanabad.
The ABVP held pro-CAA marches in Pune and Aurangabad.
A similar protest in favour of the Act was held at Churchagte in Mumbai.
The Mumbai Traffic Police advised commuters to take alternate routes and diversions around August Kranti Maidan and issued traffic restrictions from Nana Chowk and Kemps Corner.
Drones, riot control police and, SRPF personnel were deployed at the August Kranti Maidan.