The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 was passed on December 12 and unrest unleashed across India. From Assam and Tripura to Delhi and Karnataka, citizens of all ages, castes, genders, and religions have taken to the street to voice their opinions against CAA as well as NRC (National Register of Citizens).
Thousands of people gathered in Shaheen Bagh, which is one of the most important protest venues in Delhi and brought in 2020 together with the hope that with the new year the act will get repealed. It was the 18th day of protest there and at the stroke of the midnight hour, all the protesters sang the National Anthem in a show of solidarity.
About two to three thousand people gathered in Shaheen Bagh and shouted slogans of "Azadi" (freedom) and "Inquilab Zindabad" (long live the revolution) in unison. They even waved the Tricoulour Flag high up.
Yogendra Yadav from Swaraj India also took to the stage and spoke against the CAA and NRC saying, "I have come in the hope that something good happens in the new year. I have come here because I was told that after Jamia and AMU if you have to rekindle hope, go to Shaheen Bagh."
Borrowing lines from the famous lyricist, Sahir Ludhianvi, he added, "Jinhe naaz hai Hind par wo kahan hain? Jinhe naaz hai Hind par wo yahan hain (Where are those who are proud of India? They're here)."
Talking to NDTV, the 90-year-old Asma Khatun who has been sitting out on the street in the biting cold Delhi winter every day from 3 pm to 9 pm said, "We are fighting for the Constitution and for all our brothers. I want to tell those who ask me for proof, show me what were the names of your ancestors? I can show you the names of my last seven generations who have lived here."
Another local resident said, "They entered the campus and beat up the students who were studying. If our children are not safe where they study, what should we celebrate? We are here to make our dissent known."
The protest in Shaheen Bagh is being mostly led by women. It has now been going on for over two weeks, at a time when Delhi has recorded its second-coldest December in 118 years. Some women even brought their children to the protest site to make their resistance count.
Saima, 33, who has never taken part in any protest before said, "I can see that my kids don't have a future. As a mother, to save their future, I am out here protesting. Our rights should be given to us. And this is not just my fight. It's about saving the Constitution too. A lot of Indians across the country will face problems due to lack of documents."
One protestor even brought up the hijab and said, "There have been negative perceptions about those who wear hijab. This is why the protests are empowering for us. We all get to assert our voices here."
Their hospitality is being lauded all over social media with people amazed at their zeal and resilience. There were umpteen number of teacups being served. People who came from outside of the Shaheen Bagh to join in the protest were offered food and were looked after.
At Shaheen Bagh, almost every conversation begins with Aapne kuch khaya? Nahin? Kya khayenge? Kyun nahin, aap door se aaye ho hamara saath dene, kuch to kaa lijiye...
We're saluting these women for the courage and show of strength against what they believe is wrong. The solidarity and love for the country show in their actions. More power to you.
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