A united Opposition makes any protest easier: Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen, Pratichi, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan
Amartya Sen had to move HC after the Suri court set May 15 as the date of hearing, well after the university’s deadline to vacate the land | File photo

Hinting at the recent rift in the Opposition which saw parties like Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Aam Aadmi Party boycotting the recent meeting convened by Congress to devise a strategy on the Citizenship Amendment Act, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said that a united Opposition is an important requirement for a protest against a cause to work.

However, he said, even in the absence of opposition unity, protests can continue. The economist was answering journalists here over the countrywide CAA-NPR-NRC protests.

“For any kind of protest, opposition unity is important. Then protests become easier. Unity is important if the protest is for a proper cause,” Sen told journalists on Monday night.

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“But even if unity is not there, then that doesn’t mean we will stop protesting. As I said, unity makes protest easier but if unity is not there still we have to move on and do whatever is necessary,” Sen said.

Earlier, speaking at Nabanita Deb Sen Memorial Lecture, the economist said viewing oppositional reasoning as quarrelsome would be a big mistake. “It is necessary to emphasise the subtleties of the innovative forces of the opposition… We need to know more about what I am protesting about. The head must also join with the heart in protest,” Sen said in his speech.

“When there seems to be a big mistake in the Constitution or human rights, there will surely be reasons to protest,” Sen said.

Deb Sen, who passed away at her Kolkata residence last November, was the economist’s first wife.

A few days ago, Sen, who has been critical of the Narendra Modi-led Union government, said the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act should be scrapped.

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“I think the CAA must be scrapped because it cannot be an Act … That’s the job of the Supreme Court to see whether what was passed in Parliament can be legally attached to the Constitution,” the Nobel laureate had said.

(With inputs from agencies)