A homemaker left her ailing in-laws behind at home, a businesswoman locked up her stationery shop, and a doctoral student missed her class. All of them went to Ranchi’s Doranda Urs Maidan — along with 70,000 others — to protest against the new citizenship law, the National Population Register (NPR), and the proposed NRC.
Jharkhand has seen several anti-CAA protests — the ‘Samvidhan Bachao, Desh Bachao’ gathering at the Maidan on Saturday was the largest in the state so far. Professor Rizwan Ali, one of the coordinators of the event, said more than 30,000 of the protesters were women.
A woman who identified herself as Rani Parween held up a sign that said, “Humein chain se jeene do, kala kanoon wapas lo (Let us live in peace, take back the black law)”. She said she had joined various protests against the CAA earlier, but had made extra effort to be present on Saturday.
“My in-laws are ailing, and need constant attention. However, this protest was very important for all of us — not just because (Prime Minister) Modiji’s intention is to discriminate against one religion, but also because it is against humanity. I had to leave my in-laws at home and lock the door from the outside to come here,” she said. Parween, a homemaker, said she would attend all protests in the city.
By the afternoon, the protest ground was teeming with women from all strata of society. Nushi Begum, who came with her husband and their daughter who studies in Class 7, said they had decided to keep their shop closed to be able to attend the protest. “Hum kaagaz kyon dikhayein? Hum isi ke virodh mein aaye hain. (Why should we show papers? We are protesting because we are forced to do so),” she said.
Her daughter, Sanya Sarah Hayat, held the Tricolour in one hand and a sign in the other: “Tanashahi nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (We won’t allow dictatorship).” She said: “People are divided, we are constantly getting messages on social media on this issue.”
Near a group of protesters singing the now signature Aazaadi song, Ranchi University PhD scholar Arma Mazhar stood holding a sign that read: “Hum documents se nahin, dil se Hindustani hain (We are Indians by our hearts, not by any documents).” She said that she had also joined a protest at Firalyal Chowk in the city earlier.
Next to Arma stood a woman who said he has a small shop that makes bags. “In WhatsApp messages, television reports, and phonecalls, we are being reminded every day about this issue. The entire family is tense. Agar ab nahin karenge protest to kab karenge (If not today then when else will we protest)?” she said.
Nigar Sultana, who runs a computer coaching centre in Doranda, said she had downed shutters to make it to the protest. “Atal Bihari Vajpayee was better than Modiji. We only pray that they follow his (Vajpayee’s) path. We have been trying to spread awareness on this black law that Modiji has brought,” she said.
Nigar said women like her had come out in the streets to protect the Constitution, and that she would be part of the indefinite protest near Haj House, Kadru on the lines of Shaheen Bagh in Delhi beginning Monday.
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