Anti-CAA, NRC: 200 women stage sit-in at Shaheen Bagh

Undeterred by the severe cold wave sweeping Delhi, nearly 200 women have been camping day and night on Kalindi Kunj Road near Shaheen Bagh against the new citizenship law and the proposed NRC, as police officials try to persuade them to bring an end to the agitation.

Police officials said they have held several meetings during the past five days with influential locals and religious leaders to convince them to put an end to the sit-in, which has stopped traffic on the road connecting Noida and south Delhi since December 14.

Due to the unavailability of the road, the traffic load has shifted to Delhi Noida Direct (DND) flyway.

The women, however, have refused to relent unless the Centre announces a complete withdrawal of these contentious steps. The women from Shaheen Bagh were also at the forefront of the protests near Jamia Millia Islamia, which had witnessed violence and police crackdown on students.

"We have been assured by them (locals and religious leaders) that they will make the protesters understand the inconvenience caused to commuters due to the blockade," a senior police officer said.

But the protestors alleged on Thursday that police were planning to evict them using force.

"The police brought two buses at the protest site and orally informed us that we will be evicted," said Mohammad Asad (20), a student at Jamia Millia Islamia.

He said Jamia students have been mobilising crowd in Shaheen Bagh and managing the protest. The students from engineering and media studies have been managing logistics, gathering women and inviting speakers to talk about NRC and CAA.

Asad said the agitation started with only 10 to 15 women.

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"It gradually increased to 50 and then 100 women camping at the site every night. The women are undeterred by the cold and other challenges and peacefully protesting," he said.

The women are mostly from the neighbouring Noornagar, Batla House, Okhla and Sukhdev Vihar.

Fatima Sheikh, a resident of Shaheen Bagh, said she has been coming to the protest site for 10 days. "When our kids (JMI students) were beaten up, this is when we decided that the elders also need to support them. We have been reading prayers, chanting and even raising slogans all night to lodge our protest. The CAA is divisive and if students are protesting, we should support them."

Shazeen Farookh, a homemaker, said, "We sit there all night to protest because we can't be a witness to injustice. Muslims have been discriminated against ever since this government came to power and when NRC will be put to practise, we will be the worst affected after Assam and others.

"We are here since generation and we will not explain our citizenship to anyone."

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