Drawing inspiration from the Shaheen Bagh protests in Delhi, thousands of protesters in Chennai, mainly women, continued their agitation for the third day on Sunday, raising slogans against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens.
The protesters were firm in their demand that the Tamil Nadu government should pass an Assembly resolution stating that the NPR will not be implemented in the State.
Also read: Protest against Citizenship Amendment Act spreads to more areas across Tamil Nadu
The protests, which began on Friday afternoon on two narrow streets — the Sajja Munusamy Street and the Aziz Mohamed Street — in response to police excesses against agitators, continued with the same zeal and vigour on Sunday evening too.
Being a Sunday, the third day of the protests saw women from various parts of the city pour into the venue. Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, they raised slogans throughout the day. “Combining Shaheen Bagh and Washermanpet, we have coined a new name — Shaheenpet. This will provide us a unique identity,” a protester said.
The posters on the walls pinned the blame on the BJP government at the Centre, the RSS, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Posters condemning the NRC and the CAA, made by the women protesters, dotted the walls on both the streets.
Since Saturday evening, a few non-Muslims have been providing parottas and rotis to the protesters.
On Sunday afternoon, a few of them were seen providing tea to the protesters. “Hindus and Muslims have been living peacefully here. Many Muslims have been living here for decades, running businesses like biscuit-making units, hardware shops, garment shops, etc. Even at the time of the Babri Masjid demolition, we were living harmoniously. Hence, my family and I try to help the protesters,” said R. Lalithaa, a resident.
Volunteers, both young and old, male and female, provided water and other refreshments to the protesters on a hot, sunny day. Many of them criticised the manner in which the protesters were being portrayed in some sections of the media, and urged Hindus to support their cause. A couple of speakers sought to refute allegations that the agitators had been paid and that the protests had been orchestrated with a “sinister agenda”.
“If someone asks you who is behind these protests, tell them that you are protesting because of Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah,” said a speaker at Sunday’s protest. Teenagers came forward to sing and raise slogans against CAA-NRC-NPR, as chants of Azadi reverberated in the locality.
Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, addressed the protesters on Sunday.