Shaheen Bagh Women Unmoved By SC Order; Sit-in to Go on Till CAA Rollback

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Women sit in at Shaheen Bagh. — Photo: Caravan Daily

“This is Modi’s way of punishment for our vote to him”

Mohd Aasif | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI —  “According to my husband, this is the ‘punishment’ we get for giving our vote to Modi.” Thus rues a protesting woman. Disappointment is writ large on the faces of the women on sit-in at Shaheen Bagh after the Supreme Court’s order on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) came on Wednesday.

Women are angry, sad, disappointed and distressed. Most of them do not want to talk to the media as they are concerned about the manipulations being done in the reports. Women are still coming out into the streets against the will of their family. The area covered by tarpaulins has increased. A countdown paper board displays the progress of the protest. Elderly women are sitting on the makeshift bed or on the tent’s tables.

Everyone was eagerly waiting for this day. With tears rolling out of her eyes, Rashida says the SC order – refusing a stay on CAA– hurt them a lot. “PM Modi cannot see our tears and the pain in our heart,” she says. Further, she urges the PM to come and talk to them. “Does he not feel the pain,” asked one.

The Supreme Court has given another four weeks to the government for filing replies to the anti-CAA petitions filed in the apex court. Protest has been going on for more than five weeks after the crackdown on the Jamia campus. The intention of the government is seriously in doubt. The government has been given a month’s time to file its replies, while PM Modi and HM Amit Shah have chosen to gather support for the new law.

“They should have campaigned on this before passing the law in Parliament,” said Tabassum. She explains how her eyes welled up with tears while listening to the televised speech of Amit Shah in Lucknow.

Nobody wants to prove his or her identity as this land is their identity. “It’s meaningless to search for papers. Our forefathers are buried here,” she says and refuses to show her papers. Terrified over the possibility of spending their lives in detention camps, the women keep asking questions. “What do we do,” asks Tabassum rhetorically. “It’s better to sit at the protest site rather rotting in detention camps,” she adds.

The SC verdict has pained the protesters a lot, but it failed to push them back. A resolutely determined Naghma, with her daughter basking in the sun outside the tent, says that she has not lost her hope yet. “The court has disappointed us, but we will continue with our fight.”

History has become a guide to their action. Referring to the adamant behaviour of the government, women draw an analogy. Rumi Khanam, 60, said, “Pharaoh also used to think himself as Supreme as God.” She is a daily attendee at the protest site for the past 35 days. “Vanity is not a good thing. They (Modi & Shah) will face the same fate,” she said.

Abu Sayeed, questioning the autonomy of the Constitutional institutions, asked, “What else do we expect from them?” Further, he added, “They must not proceed further as the public has already rejected this law.”

Upset over the Supreme Court order, one of the protesting women refuses to step aside from the movement.  “Even if it continues for more months, we will be here,” she says.

Kids accompanying their mothers are adding attraction to the sit-in. One of them has his birthday today. “We will celebrate his birthday protesting here,” said his mother.

Shocked over the SC order, but spirited by their will to protest, women shouting slogans are waving their hands, responding to the songs sung on the microphone. One could hear the song, ‘We shall overcome one day (Ham honge kamyaab)’ and ‘India is the greatest country in the world’ (Saare jahan se achchha Hindustan hamara).

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