Delhi’s coldest December and women sit-in at Shaheen Bagh

shaheen bagh sit-in

The anti-CAA protests across India have given rise to conflicting news stories and accounts of police violence, police brutality, and mass detentions. But, in the midst of it all, protests at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area have been an example of courage and kindness in trying circumstances. 

Undeterred by the severe cold wave sweeping Delhi, a great crowd of women have been camping day and night on Kalindi Kunj Road near Shaheen Bagh against the new citizenship law and the proposed NRC, as police officials try to pursuade them to bring an end to the agitation.

This area is vastly connected to nearby commercial and official areas such as Noida, Nehru Place, Sarita Vihar, Jasola, Okhla Industrial Area, and Okhla Railway Station. It also have good connectivity and short distance to universities like Jamia Millia Islamia and Jamia Hamdard.

Shaheen Bagh is a neighbourhood in the South Delhi District of Delhi, India. It is the southernmost colony of the Okhla area, situated along the banks of the Yamuna. As of December 2019, the locality is the venue for an ongoing protest against the Citizenship Act.

Talks between Delhi Police and anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh fail, women making no compromise

The Delhi Police on Thursday appealed to protesters to clear the roads for the traffic to resume but the talks failed as the protesters refused to move.

Great resilience, the protesters at Shaheen Bagh, since 15 December 2019, have blocked a major highway in New Delhi using non-violent resistance for 34 days now as of 17 January 2020. It has now become the longest ongoing continuous protest against CAA-NRC-NPR.

Just a day after students of Jamia Millia Islamia University faced tear gas and batons following their protest against a new citizenship law and a proposed citizens’ register that has brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets across the country, the locals of Shaheen Bagh decided to start their own form of protest.

The area is set up with tents and a makeshift stage, and the protestors have been using mattresses to sleep in, even in the biting cold. Slogans of Azaadi and cups of chai accompany the cold winds. The protests don’t look to be ending, any time soon, because the protestor’s conviction is stronger than the cold winds and the government’s apathy.

Why is Shaheen Bagh in limelight?

The peaceful sit-in at Shaheen Bagh began on December 16 after Delhi police stormed the campus of nearby Jamia Millia Islamia university and assaulted students who took out a protest march against CAA.

This protest doesn’t belong to Muslims only but to all those people who believe in the Indian constitution and want to protect it

Shyama Khan, protester

After the protest turned violent, police entered the university campus, fired tear gas shells and thrashed unarmed students. Videos of police brutality shared on social media caused a public outcry.

The new law coupled with a proposed nationwide counting of citizenship (National Register of Citizens or NRC) has India’s Muslims, who number nearly 200 million, worried.

Huge protests have been held across India in the past one month. At least 28 people, mostly Muslims, have been killed in the police crackdown. The northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has reported most deaths.

The protest at Shaheen Bagh began with a small group of men and women but soon swelled as people from other parts of Delhi also joined in solidarity. The Shaheen Bagh protest venue has been compared with Jantar Mantar – a site close to Indian parliament that hosts protests round the year.

Sheeza Fatima, 44, a resident of Aligarh – about 100km from New Delhi – had come to a relative’s place in Shaheen Bagh when the sit-in began. She joined soon and now visits daily.

“I thought it’s better to join these women who are out for a cause rather than go back home,”

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