The protests against the CAA is carrying on unabated in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and several other locations despite the horror of the four days of brutality on the people of Jaffrabad and other areas of north east Delhi. There is a foreboding, a threat hanging over their heads, but the women and men who have been sitting in a tent for almost all their waking hours for over two months are not returning home till their demand for justice is met. It is clear to the women here that the violence was meant to break the resistance and ensure that more Shaheen Baghs do not sustain. However, the violence has not broken the backs of the protestors here – they have resolutely and unanimously voted to continue their vigil.
Women protesting peacefully near the Zaffrabad Metro station before communal violence was organised by the State
Massive demonstration in Chennai
Students protesting against CAA-NRC in Trichi
Meanwhile, other areas of the country have also witnessed almost ceaseless protests in one part or the other.
Two months after the UP police cracked down on people protesting the amendments to the citizenship statutes, women have remained in the forefront to lead the campaign against CAA-NRC. The protests in Kanpur’s Mohammed Ali Park started early in January, inspired by Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh sit-in. The agitation began with people gathering in the small park in the evenings. Within a month, the protest had swelled to become a 24x7 sit-in, with women giving speeches and singing patriotic songs. They condemn the Modi government’s decision to base Indian citizenship on religion.
Several attempts were made by the Kanpur administration to end the protest in January. This mostly involved meeting with local community leaders in Kanpur. At least twice, senior district and police officials came to the park to accept memorandums – a time-tested technique for ending protests. However, it didn’t work this time. The women kept on occupying the park.
The anger of the protestors goes back in time before the CAA-NRC. They are angry about the Goods and Services Tax and the demonetization which had destroyed so many small businesses.
Elsewhere in the country, many sections of the people across the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have come out on the streets again and again.
On 15th February, there was a massive protest at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan. People from across communities participated in it, including nomadic tribes whose insecurity stems from the fact that they have no documents of any type.
Punjab witnessed its largest anti-CAA protest at the Anaj Mandi in Malerkotla in Sangrur district on 15th February, with Muslim organisations and locals joining hands with farmers’ groups such as Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and students’ groups like Punjab Students’ Union. Another protest organised under the Bharat Bachao Dalit Manch began at the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall succeeded in bringing the area to a standstill for about three hours.
In Madhya Pradesh, a major protest was organised in Barwani in the end of January. Protests also took place at Khargone and Burhanpur. The massive and repeated protests compelled the Madhya Pradesh government to adopt a motion against the CAA.
In Tamil Nadu, the brutal police action on 14th February against protesters in a locality of Chennai also expanded support for the anti-CAA movement in Tamil Nadu. It has prompted protests at Guindy and other areas in Chennai and across the state in Madurai and Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Erode and Thiruvannamalai. People have gathered to demand the repeal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and passing of a resolution during the current budget session in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
In West Bengal, several activists, artists and the ruling Trinamool Congress joined the stir. Everywhere, those who are protesting are making every attempt to unify all communities around this issue and dismiss the premise that it is a Hindu-Muslim issue!
|Protests by Indian diaspora in Europe to condemn the organised communal massacre in North-east Delhi. Above: Hamberg, Germany and Below: Grenoble, France|