Khureji In East Delhi Turning To Be Another Shaheen Bagh
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, JANUARY 16—Khureji, in East Delhi falling in Krishna Nagar assembly constituency, is turning to be another Shaheen Bagh with hundreds of women, mostly Muslim, sitting on round the clock protest, braving the chilling winter, against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) since January 13.
On Wednesday, senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan and rights activist Ravi Nair from South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC) also visited the place and addressed the protesters. They asked them to continue the peaceful protest and assured them that there was no alternative for the government than taking back the citizenship law as it was unconstitutional and could not stand the legal scrutiny in a court of law.
Unlike Shaheen Bagh where the police could not muster courage to make a bid to evict the protesters forcibly, the Delhi police tried to remove the protesters by use of force in the intervening night of January 14 & 15. However, the protesters faced the police boldly and made them retreat though the police had damaged their tent erected on the land belonging to Khureji village graveyard and which did not block traffic.
Narrating what happened in the night, activist Khalid Saifi, who is extending support to the local women activists, told India Tomorrow that hundreds of police personnel led by 12 to 14 police officers including Deputy Commissioner of Police Amit Sharma along with several inspectors and assistant commissioners of police (ACPs) descended at the protest site at 3 am.
They asked the women protesters as well as the men assembled there to leave immediately. The policemen also disconnected the power supply and began removing the tents. Some of the policemen, according to protesters, were covering their faces. When Saifi and others confronted the police and asked them the logic behind raiding the protest site at odd hours, the police reportedly them that they simply wanted the protest to end. But a huge crowd of people assembled there after learning the police crackdown and began shouting slogans against the police. Sensing that the situation would go out of control, Saifi said that policemen immediately left the venue.
According to Saifi, he was asked by the police on January 14 to persuade the locals to withdraw the protest. He was threatened that he would be booked in some cases if he did not comply. When Saifi refused, he was then advised to leave the area with his family.
Abdul Razzaq, a resident of Khureji, said that a pro-CAA programme was organised in Vivekanand Ashram, adjoining the anti-CAA protest site and highly provocative slogans were raised by the participants throughout the day. According to Razzaq, people at Vivekanand Ashram not only raised “Jai Shri Ram” slogans but they also raised slogans like “Delhi police lathi bajao, hum tumhare saath hain” and “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro salon ko” to provoke anti-CAA protesters to react.
Razzaq said that all this happened in presence of police personnel and senior officials but the latter did nothing to stop them or take action against them for slogans causing disharmony among communities.
Razzaq said that anti-CAA protesters maintained complete calm and harmony. They did not respond to the slogans and continued their speeches and slogans regarding their demand to repeal CAA and proposed NRC.
A Delhi University student Sara Javed Chawla said that police was accompanied with some people in plainclothes and they asked the protesters to disband the protest. She alleged that police was carrying lathis and teargas shells and asked the women to lift the protest. “Why did the police come at 3 am and why did they carry teargas shells? What did they want to do? And what right do they have to force us to end our protest? The constitutional law permits us to peaceful protest”, she said.
Sayma Chaudhary, a BA(2nd year) student of Delhi University, said that the crowd at the protest site increased from 500 to 2,000 now, after the police crackdown.
Saying that why the women have come out on streets, Chaudhary said, “when women come out on streets, it means it is a very serious issue”. She said that CAA, which is a “Black Law” would not only take away the citizenship of Muslims but Dalits, adivasis and poor people would also suffer equally.
“CAA is very dangerous. At present, only the Muslims are being targeted and dalits and adivasis would come next. BJP government at the Centre wants to repeat Assam in rest of India”, she said, referring to 19 lakh people, majority of them Hindus, declared foreigner through National Register of citizens (NRC) process.
“But we will not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to succeed in their designs to snatch the citizenship of Muslims and declare them foreigners. They will have to repeal the law. We will continue our protest till the government withdraws the law that divides communities on basis of religion”, she said.
Like in Jamia Millia Islamia university, children and women are also taking out candle light march in their Khureji, creating awareness among the people about CAA and NRC. A small boy aged 10 years identifying himself as Iqbal told this reporter that his father told him that if CAA was not withdrawn, every Muslim would be thrown in detention centres and their houses and properties would be confiscated by the government. “That is why I have been taking part in the candle light march daily since January 13 when the protest in my locality started”, said Iqbal.
Addressing the protesters, advocate Rekha Sharma said that how could Muslims be denied citizenship after 70 years of Independence. “Who is (Narendra) Modi to deprive Muslims of their citizenship right?”, she asked.