At 3.40 am Tuesday, the temperature in East Delhi’s Khureji Khas read 9°C. A Tricolour fluttered. A ‘work in progress’ barricade on Patparganj Marg is sprayed over with a ‘No Fascist Government’ slogan. A ‘Save Constitution, Save Democracy’ banner draped over a police barricade welcomes visitors.
The calm is shattered by slogans: Hain Haq Hamara, Azadi; Hum Leke Rahenge, Azadi; Inquilab, Zindabad. Underneath a tarpaulin and a flimsy plastic sheet, a group of women sits huddled together for warmth as some children covered in blankets doze off.
Emulating Shaheen Bagh’s month-long protest, the women Monday started their indefinite sit-in to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and alleged police excesses on students. Just like Shaheen Bagh, men are also on the periphery, women and students lead the sit-in.
The indefinite sit-in is borne out of spontaneity, said Ishrat Jahan (30), one of the organisers and a former councillor.
“We started a peaceful candlelight march against CAA and NRC in the afternoon, and later a protest at this site. We had police permission till 5 pm. When they came to remove some men, women formed a human chain to rescue them. Inspired by Shaheen Bagh, women decided to sit on dharna until the government rolls back the CAA,” said Jahan.
Among the crowd of 100-odd protesters is Nikhat Parveen (40), a homemaker.
“This is the fight to assert I belong here. The new law and NRC pose a threat to Muslims. I don’t want to be in the dock when the future generation asks, ‘Where were you when the law was implemented?’,” she said.
Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav also visited the site in the evening to express his solidarity.