"PM Has Compelled Us To Protest On The Road", Protesters Tell SC Interlocutors On Day-2 At Shaheen Bagh
“Supreme Court advocate (Hegde) is saying that we (Muslims) are your brothers and sisters. But PM (Modi) does not say so. He (PM) says we are not his sisters and brothers”, a woman protester tells SC mediation team.
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 20—During Day-2 dialogue of the Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors with the protesters at Shaheen Bagh on Thursday, a 55-year-old woman hailing from Bihar and living in Shaheen Bagh said that they were compelled to sit on the road by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that they were by themselves not willing to occupy the road even for a moment.
Speaking to interlocutors-Advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhna Ramchandran-in absence of the media, the woman said, “Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has compelled us to sit on the road. Nobody is interested in sitting on the road even for a moment. The PM should either repeal the CAA or also include Muslims in it like members of other religious communities if he wants the road to be vacated and end of the protest”.
As National Population Register (NPR ) exercise which is to begin from April 1 and experts say that this is a precursor to preparing Nation Register of Citizens (NRC) deciding who is an Indian citizen and who is a foreigner illegally living in India, the woman told the SC team to conduct census on the lines of that done every 10 years in the past and drop NPR altogether”.
As Muslims will have to prove their Indian citizenship by producing documents during NRC process, the woman said, “We Muslims are all Indians. Lal Qila(Red Fort), Jama Masjid and Qutub Minar are all testimonies of our Indianness”.
Impressed by women protesters saying that they were no less Indian that others, advocate Sanjay Hedge interrupted the woman and said, “we are your brothers, you are one of us, you are not alone”.
She promptly replied, “Supreme Court advocate (Hegde) is saying that we (Muslims) are your brothers and sisters. But PM (Modi) does not say so. He (PM) says we are not his sisters and brothers”.
“Aiyen. PM hum se gale milen. Hum un se gale milne ko taiyar hain. Hum un ka yahan welcome karenge (Let PM accept that we are one of them. We are ready to welcome him, give him a red carpet welcome”, said the woman.
Advocate Hegde replied, “We have been living on the soil of India for ages, the present generation is living on this soil now and our future generations will also live on this soil. Many Prime Ministers came and went. This Prime Minister is also ours. We don’t’ say that PM can’t be wrong. Everyone has a right to dissent and protest. The country is watching as to who is saying what. We have to live here only. The present hostile atmosphere will change. We all have to contribute for it. In Sha Allah (God Willing), the atmosphere of love and harmony will return again”.
Another woman protester told the SC mediation panel that the BJP government under PM Modi was trying to dispossess Muslims of their constitutional rights through CAA, NRC and NPR.
She said that youths, students and women who dissented and raised their voice against CAA were brutally beaten up by police at Jamia, many sustained fractures, severe injuries in police lathicharge and firing, one of the students lost vision in one of his eyes. “I am a witness to police barbarity on our students at Jamia. When a mother sees cruelty on her children, she can go to any extent to defend him/ her and that is why they are here on the road for the last 65 days”, she asserted.
Expressing fear of the Muslims in general with regard to CAA, NRC and NPR, she told the SC representatives, “We have been told that detention camps are being built at a cost of Rs. 1000 crores. Why this injustice to throw us into detention camps?”
Objecting to SC appointing a mediation panel to convince protesters from vacating the road, she asked, “Why did nobody go to Supreme Court against Anna’s(Hazare) ‘andolan’ at Ramlila Maidan like someone went to SC against Shaheen Bagh movement? It is shameful that ‘Godi’ media is projecting Shaheen Bagh protests as Muslim-only andolan”.
“Ye Hindustan ka andolan hai. Yeh Hindu-muslim andolan nahin hain”, she clarified.
She said, “When news spread after a few days of the protest that some people had come to forcibly remove the protesters from the road, crowd of protesters all of a sudden swelled and they comprised of both Muslims and Hindus. It is not a Muslim-only agitation as is being projected”.
Regarding allegations that Shaheen Bagh protesters have blocked the road, she told the panel members, “This is not true. Delhi and UP police have blocked the road from three sides, obstructing traffic movement”.
A young girl told the SC team that PM talked of “beti bachao, beti padhao”(save the girl child, educate the girl” but he got the same girls beaten up when they raised voice of dissent.