Bengaluru's Bilal Bagh protest completes 20 days

Bengaluru's Bilal Bagh protest completes 20 days

The 20th day of women and children staging protest against CAA, NRC, NPA at Bilal Bagh, Bilal Masjid, Tannery Road in Bengaluru on Thursday. Photo by S K Dinesh

Despite intelligence from the police that members of the SDPI’s youth front would try to create disruptions at Bilal Bagh, the all-women’s protest remained calm. 

Entering its 20th day on Thursday, the protest gave the impression of being unceasing, and short of police force to evict people who have closed off 9th Main Cross Road at Pillanna Garden. 

The quartet of core organisers behind the rally denied all political involvement at Bilal Bagh. “We have no ties with any political organisation or entity. This is a protest by the people,” said Saqib, one of the student organisers. “In fact, we have lost widespread support by local community organisations because they have been pressured by the police.”  

According to sources, while the protests are being fronted by a wide coalition of unaffiliated student protest groups, its support comes from disparate people. The food is from a local businessman. Water is said to be provided by other donors.

“We are clear on our position: we expel any political entity that tries to enter this protest,” Saqib said. 

The challenges of trying to keep the protest going have presented various problems, another protester said.

With the withdrawal of toilet access at the local masjid, for example, the protesters have had to create their own, tented-off sanitation facilities running straight into sewer lines. Since Wednesday, the protest site also sports four CCTV cameras to ensure security, according to organisers.

For local shopkeepers, the continuous protest presents a different set of challenges. “My shop has suffered a 50% loss of sales since these protests began,” said a man who runs a snacks store. “Anyone attending the protest is handed free food and water. Nobody wants to buy from us.”

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