Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Inspired by Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), over 40 protest sit-ins are ongoing in different parts of the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as well as NRC/NPR. Women form the major segment of the participants at most places.
These sit-ins started after the holding of rallies and street marches against the new citizenship law, which discriminates against Muslims, who also faced a brutal crackdown from the police in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Karnataka in recent days of the protest.
Social activist Nadeem Khan, active in this mass movement, said these sit-ins are being organised informally by local people for an indefinite period. “There are sit-ins at over 40 places. This is a people’s movement. People are organising these by themselves. No particular organisation is behind these. The participants are protesting against CAA-NPR. Now, we are not discussing the NRC,” said Khan.
Some of these sit-ins in big cities like Allahabad, Patna, Delhi, Bhopal and Kolkata have caught media attention but many sit-ins held in small towns and cities go unreported.
Some of the sit-ins came to light after police made attempts to stop them. More than 200 people were booked for holding sit-ins in Allahbad’s Mansoor Ali Park. In Delhi’s Khureji, the police made an unsuccessful attempt to evict the women protesters by arriving there in strength after midnight in what looked like a raid. But the women refused to be cowed down. At Delhi’s Turkman Gate, protesters were evicted briefly by detaining them, but they returned to the scene to carry on with their protest action.
The sit-in is on at Seelampur, Jaffrabad, Delhi, Park Circus in Kolkata, Qazi Nazrul Baag, Asansol, Manikbaag, Indore, Iqbal Maidan Bhopal (MP), Mansoor Ali Park Allahabad, Mohammad Ali Park, Kanpur, Islamiya College Bareli, Idgah Maidaan Deoband, (UP), Rakhiyal, Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Shanti bagh, Gaya and Araria, Sabjibagh Patna (Bihar), Aurangabad, Pune, Nanded (Maharashtra), Khandwa, Ghonda, Delhi, Kota in Rajasthan, and Kochi, Kerala.
Many of these sit-ins are being led by women. One of the protesters at Ahmedabad asked over phone that her documents were burned in Gujarat riots, so how will she prove her citizenship?
Ruksana Sheikh, 53, was holding a placard that said, ‘My documents were burned in the 2002 riots, ab kagaz kahan se laaye (where do we get our papers from)? She said, “I studied till Class VII, my parents are dead and the only documents I have are the Aadhaar card and the voters’ ID. There’s no birth certificate or school-leaving certificate. How am I supposed to prove my citizenship when they come for NRC and NPR exercise?”