Braving the bone-chilling cold, hundreds of people in Shaheen Bagh, South Delhi, continued their protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act(CAA), as a new year dawned.
Huddled in blankets with kids as young as 20-days-old, people from all walks of life have been protesting at Shaheen Bhag for over two weeks, undeterred by the falling temperatures and pressure from officials to vacate the premises.
20 day old Umme Habeeba,the youngest protestor @ Shaheen Bagh.Wen I asked her mother how she manages sitting in d cold having gone thru delivery 20 days back, she said, "..samvidhaan bachaana hai. Baithengey" @thewire_in @washingtonpost @AJEnglish @nytimes @times @TIME @BBCHindi pic.twitter.com/gynaLNF6SN
— Mariya Salim (@MariyaS87) December 30, 2019
The protests began on December 15, after the police brutality on students of Jamia Millia Islamia, who were peacefully protesting against CAA and the National Register Of Citizens(NRC).
As the protesters have pitched tents on the middle of the Noida-Kalindi Kunj Highway, daily commute, supply and transport of essential goods and services have been hit. In light of this, a notice signed by the area SHO, had called for an end to the demonstration. Unabashed, the protesters say that they will continue their sit-in till their demands are met.
“We are protesting against CAA, NRC, and NPR. We will keep protesting till CAA is repelled,” said a woman who identifies herself as ‘Bharat Mata’, while speaking to The Logical Indian.
Despite the second-coldest December Delhi has witnessed in 118 years, the protesters sang patriotic songs and raised slogans. The protest also saw huge support from the locals, who brought food for those protesting. Collection drives for blankets and other essentials have also been going on in Twitter.
“We are also Indians, we did not come from outside, and you(the government) are asking us to prove citizenship. Our citizenship is the same Aadhar card and Voter ID, with which we voted for you,” says Gulistan, another protester.
“Fire does not distinguish between a Muslim or Hindu’s house; the entire village gets engulfed when a fire breaks out. During any natural disaster, people will try to save their lives, not their documents. How will these people provide their documents?” asks Ms Jehan.
The protesters believe that CAA is against the Constitution and discriminates against Muslims.
When asked what she finds problematic in CAA, Atika Afreen, a class six student from Shaheen Bagh, says, “CAA is against the constitution.”
On new year’s eve, the protesters were joined by activists like Harsh Mander, Kafeel Khan, and Yogendra Yadav. “Woh todenge, hum jodenge(They will divide, we will unite),” echoed on the streets as Yadav led the chant.
.@_YogendraYadav leads a chant:
Woh todenge, hum jodenge.
(They will divide, we will unite). pic.twitter.com/zqGHksCY4o
— Rohan Venkat (@RohanV) December 31, 2019
When the clock struck 12, the crowd burst into the national anthem in unison. While some had their phones raised high to capture the moment, others waved national flags.