Bengaluru's ‘Shaheen Bagh’ may go on indefinitely

Bengaluru's ‘Shaheen Bagh’ may go on indefinitely

A child holds a placard against the National Population Register during the rally. DH PHOTO/B H SHIVAKUMAR

A planned three-day rally at Tannery Road in eastern Bengaluru against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) might go on indefinitely as the increasing number of persons has given the protesters a shot in the arm. 

The rally, which had swelled to over 250 people on Sunday evening, up from the 100 people on Saturday when the rally first began, appeared to embolden protesters who said they were planning to stay for the long haul. 

“The intention was to stay here for as long as possible,” said Saqib, a city college student who helped organise the rally near the Bilal Masjid in Pillanna Garden. 

Police do not have any counter move as of now. The Inspector of KG Halli police station, who has oversight of the protest site, said the protest would be closed but could not offer a time frame for this. 

Advocate K Balan, who spoke at the rally, described public forms of dissent as the only effective weapons against the CAA and the
National Register of Citizens (NRC). 

“All of our institutions have fallen silent in the face of this government’s moves to impose these communal legislations on the people. The only way to defeat them is through peaceful protests,” he said. 

He added that there was a precedent to think that peaceful dissent was effective. “Indians defeated the repressive Rowlatt Act, 1919. People might think the current CAA protests are pinpricks. But they are drops of water. Together, they can form an ocean,” he added. 

Meghana, 37, an assistant professor from Azim Premji University who was at the rally, concurred with this view, saying that the protests would ensure that the government paid a price even if it did not roll back the CAA. “They would pay in the polls,” she said. 

Sujnan, 20, a media studies student, described the Tannery Road protest as a good model. “It allows for local residents to take charge and empowers them,” he said. 

Various organisers and members of the crowd said about 50 people slept on-site on the first day. They said more people would stay on-site throughout Sunday night. 

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