Women protesters at Hauz Rani ask leaders not to politicise stir

Women seen at a dharna at Gandhi park, Hauz Rani in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Eleven days into a sit-in demonstration, on the lines of the protest at Shaheen Bagh, women protesters at Hauz Rani on Monday appealed to political leaders to not politicise the demonstrations ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi.

Demanding that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act be revoked, protesters asked why the right to free speech is reserved only for politicians and not for those seeking constitutional rights.

Zainab Mallick, a homemaker, said: “From [Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister] Yogi Adityanath to Delhi MPs, everyone seems to be making controversial statements pertaining to Shaheen Bagh and the Muslim community. The ones firing shots are hailed as ‘desh bhakts’ but we are raising the flag and are being called ‘anti-nationals’. What kind of logic is this?” Stating that the CAA is “clearly snatching rights from the Muslims”, the 25-year-old, added: “We are pained with the constant vilification of the Muslims. Why are we being treated like this? Instead of talking about the economy, women’s safety and education, all that is being talked about is Pakistan. Why should we go there? Jinko jaana tha wo chalein gaye [The ones who had to go are already gone].”

The protest at Gandhi Park saw a stream of visitors, with women taking turns to occupy a tent accompanied by their toddlers.

‘Real issues forgotten’

Samreen, (23), also a homemaker, said: “Stop playing politics in our name. If you [Centre] say that there are rumours about the CAA then why don’t you come and clear our doubts? We brought you to power and now just because we are questioning you, we are being called ‘anti-nationals’. If the police are with the Centre then where will we get the bullets from? What narrative are you trying to spread and why should we even support this law?”

With a toddler in tow, Ms. Samreen added: “Education and economy in the country is in a bad shape. Instead of talking about real issues why spew hate? Yahan pe kaam chalega jumla nahi [Work matters here and not gimmicks].”

Taira, (60), who is a regular at the demonstration, said: “We are here for our demands not for anything related to the elections. While some are dragging Arvind Kejriwal into the issue, others are talking about the BJP. All we want is our rights.”

Adding that the protesters are trying to “speak to the Centre and not the Delhi government”, Ms. Mallick added, “Our concern is with the ones who brought in this law in the first place. So it does not matter whether Mr. Kejriwal is supporting us or not. We want the Centre to hear us. It is high time that politics over the Hindu-Muslim dichotomy ends.”

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 7:27:58 AM |

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