Shaheen Bagh protest continues amid calls to end it

Shaheen Bagh protest continues amid calls to end it

Protestors hold placards during a demonstration against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) on New Year's eve at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi

For 20 days, women of Delhi's Shaheen Bagh braved the winter chill day and night to keep the flames of anti-CAA protests on in Delhi but on Thursday there were conflicting claims about the continuation of the protest with a section announcing the ending of blocking a road as part of the protest.

However, another section said that the protest will continue with locals at Shaheen Bagh, which is three kilometres away from Jamia Millia Islamia, staying put at the protest venue, which has turned iconic for its symbolism as women -- students, young mothers and elderly -- are the face of the agitation.

They had even turned the New Year celebrations with a promise to continue their fight to ensure that the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act is not implemented.

However on Thursday afternoon, one of the organisers of the core committee Sharjeel Imam, a research scholar, announced on Facebook that they were withdrawing the road blockade "to avoid the impending violence from party goons and to avoid politicisation of the stage by parties".

"Police was probably asked not to intervene because BJP intends to intervene themselves. If that happens, our peaceful protest will be tarnished, and it will break the morale of the people. We have achieved a lot in the last 20 days, with greatest among them was the participation of women and the peaceful way in which we have maintained this. We can block the road again in a few days if we retreat peacefully," he said adding they were planning to move into phase 2 and work on a flash mob strategy used by Hong Kong protesters and spread it across cities.

This came as a prominent local BJP politician apparently wrote to the police asking them to remove the protesters or else after 48 hours the BJP (Okhla Division) will be compelled to embark on a programme of dharnas and demonstrations.

But another activist Ovais Sultan Khan, who is also part of the protest, tweeted, "the public of Shaheen Bagh is still on the road. The movement continues. Ignore the rumours. It is a people's movement. Will not stop at the behest of any leader."

At Shaheen Bagh, some protest coordinators appealed to the protesters to leave the venue and return, may be, after two days but the protesters, mostly women, refused to heed.

The protest venue has attracted the attention of several people and many are thronging the venue in the evening hours to express solidarity.

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