#ShaheenBaghZindaHai Trends; Crackdown Fails to Break Activists’ Spirit

New Delhi: People continue to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) on the 71st Republic Day, at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi on Jan 26, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – #ShaheenBaghZindaHai trended on twitter on Monday as activists reiterated their resolve to protest against the citizenship Act (CAA) even as the governmental agencies are carrying out a systematic crackdown on their leading lights amidst the coronavirus lockdown.

A number of twitterati posted massages with the hashtag that highlighted the “spirit of Shaheen Bagh”.

Shaheen Bagh, a neighbourhood near Jamia Millia Islamia University, became an iconic symbol of anti CAA protests after women started an indefinite sit-in on a highway. It inspired many such sit-ins in towns and cities across the country after Indian government passed a controversial law in December 2019 that grants citizenships to migrants from neighbouring countries leaving out Muslims.

On the first day of the lockdown, Delhi Police, taking advantage of the eerie silence, went to the spot and bulldozed the makeshift infrastructure at the sit-in.

Shaheen Bagh had emerged a shared space for democratic and secular groups and activists to raise their voice against the policies that critics say is undermining the secular character enshrined of the country enshrined in the constitution.

The space also played a role in dispelling the stereotypes about Muslim women who used it as a platform to showcase their level of emancipation.

Given that the police are cracking down heavily on anti CAA activists it is now uncertain whether the sit-in will resume once the situation returns to normal. The Police have booked and jailed a number of activists, many under the controversial anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

But some say that it is just a phase and that the protests will return as soon as situation allows.


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