Six-year-old Hita cannot pronounce the word ‘religion’. She struggles and lisps her way through her explanation for why people gather outside Jamia everyday: “CAA and NRC are very dangerous. They can be bad in the future. The country may be divided on the basis of religion”.
She and her sister, Ahra (11), are at Jamia Millia Islamia every day in a unique protest. They sit on the pavement outside the varsity with a little desk and study while their father, Imran ul Hafiz, an engineer from Batla House, stands besides them.
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The sisters are students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Andrews Ganj. Ahra’s exams will begin on the18th. On Friday, she sat on the pavement with her science notebook, preparing for her first paper. She said the chanting and sloganeering do not distract her from studies. “I only get disturbed when people start talking to me,” she said, giggling.
The girls sit with their desk every afternoon, and stay till after 6 pm. Friday was the 27th day of their pavement study sessions.
With the protest outside Jamia continuing for over a month, it has developed a number of different parts and players, such as the two sisters.
In the last week, new enterprises have begun next to the protest site. Manzoor Ahmed, a shopkeeper from Sadar Bazar, started selling tricolour items to people. Adeeba (20), a resident of Ghafoor Nagar, makes posters for protesters everyday from 2 pm to 7 pm. “I leave for Shaheen Bagh after 7 pm to join the women there and return home after 10 pm,” she said.
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