Anti-CAA ( Citizenship (Amendment) Act ) protesters in Kolkata , whose ongoing sit-in at the Park Circus Maidan is now more than 50 days old, on Wednesday said they were taking extra precautions after the violence in Delhi to make sure no one made speeches that were remotely inflammatory.
“ What has happened in Delhi is shameful — they are simply killing humanity. But I am not scared. If I was scared, I wouldn’t have started this protest in the first place. Our protest is not political or against any community, but against a law that divides people on communal lines,” Asmat Jamil, the housewife who initiated began the protest on January 7 along with other Muslim women in the neighbourhood, told The Hindu .
“We are making sure no one here makes a speech that is even remotely provocative. We were already cautious about it, we are now being extra cautious. What helps is that this is Bengal and not Delhi, where the police is openly biased. Here, even the West Bengal government is against CAA,” Ms. Jamil said.
The protesters in Kolkata are eager to drive home that a parallel should not be drawn between Park Circus Maidan and Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh , where the ongoing protest had caused obstacles to movement of traffic.
“ That is Delhi and this is Bengal, you cannot compare the two. Here, we are making sure that the traffic and normal life is not affected by our protest. We even changed the positions of the loudspeakers so that children studying for their exams are not disturbed,” said Debu Shaw, one of the volunteers at Park Circus Maidan.
“Every participant is now a volunteer, whose job is to watch out for potential mischief-makers and to caution speakers against provocative speeches. We are also keeping an eye on new faces walking into the venue,” said Mr. Shaw, a hardware engineer who has not been taking up assignments for the past one month because he is at the venue most of the time.
Said Ms. Jamil: “We want to keep this protest peaceful. We simply cannot afford anything going wrong or else the whole purpose will be defeated. The fight is to turn India into Mahatma Gandhi’s India, to rid society of hatred. We are not going to stop until we have achieved this.”