It is 10.30 pm. Subzibagh in Patna is abuzz. Traffic moves unhindered on one half of the road. The other half has about 70 rows of plastic chairs facing a stage. On the stage are teenagers chanting the Azadi slogan on a microphone.
Residents of Subzibagh and nearby areas have been peacefully protesting against CAA, NRP and NRC since January 11. It is a round-the-clock protest that is being attended by people of all age. Protesters include businessmen, students, housewives and the elderly.
“We have not created any forum. It is a spontaneous protest that is gaining momentum. It has support from all communities,” says Sameer, a post-graduate student. Another organiser says, “We are not letting traffic be disrupted. This protest is not about religion. It is against the government’s attempt to tamper with the Constitution and create a rift among Hindus and Muslims.”
Sakeena, a middle-aged woman at the protest, says, “Some of us come after we complete domestic chores and eat dinner.”
Afzal, one of the organisers, points at some youths and says they have come from as far as Begusarai. “The response is overwhelming and it is growing each day. The best part is the growing presence of women. The Shaheen Bagh protest has inspired us.”
Afzal says no political party is associated with the protest even though Jan Adhikar Party leader Pappu Yadav and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) spokesperson Danish Rizwan have expressed solidarity with them. Local residents say they are meeting expenses by pooling in money.
At Gaya’s Shantibagh, the protest against CAA, NRC and NPR has entered three weeks. It is being organised by Samvidhan Bachao Morcha, a front formed by local residents. Morcha convenor Ummai Khan says the protest is being attended by women from all communities in large numbers. “Students’ involvement is laudable. We are getting support from like-minded people from all quarters.”
Faisal Rahmani, one of the organisers, said the protest was supported by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi and leaders of AIMIM and RJD. “But the protest is funded by donation from local residents,” said Rahmani.
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