A Day After Lathi-Charge, a Shaheen Bagh-like Protest in Chennai
The violence which erupted in Washermanpet late on Friday, 14 February, led to a Shaheen Bagh-like sit-in protest in Chennai. Hundreds of women have started an indefinite protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) on Saturday.
Speaking at the Assembly session on Monday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami appealed to the people asking them to give up on the protest.
“Muslims should ignore rumours and cooperate for communal amity. Tamil Nadu government will not allow any act against minorities in the state. Tamil Nadu government will always be a shield to minorities,” he said.
This gathering came together after a scuffle broke out between the protesters and the police at the Old Washermanpet area on 14 February. The police had lathi-charged and detained anti-CAA protesters. Multiple protests have also erupted all over the state in the last two days, condemning police high-handedness against anti-CAA protesters.
‘The Sit-in is Indefinite’
The group has vowed to continue the protest until the controversial legislations are repealed. Sajja Munusamy Street and Aziz Mohamed Street, part of Lala Gunda locality in Old Washermanpet, are packed with more than 3,000 women and children.
Several women told The Quint that while the men were just protecting them when the violence erupted on 14 February, the cops were thrashing and dragging people away.
“We have no personal grievances against the Chennai police but on that day, so many men were chased and thrashed. Even women were hit and stamped on by male cops. So this sit-in is indefinite. But even today, if the cops come here, we will give them food and water and stand our ground firmly.”Shabana to The Quint
Apart from Washermanpet, areas such as Kathipara, Guindy and Anna Salai in Chennai and Madurai, Trichy, Coimbatore and Salem, also witnessed protests following police action.
Slogans of ‘azaadi’ have been echoing for the last three nights and black flags have also been spotted on top of the buildings at the sit-in protest. Chapatis and fried rice were made in large quantities by protesters and served to everyone at night. Women at the protest claim they have been inspired by the protests at Shaheen Bagh.
Several artists and local leaders are taking turns to explain to those gathered why CAA and NRC are discriminatory in nature.
In the last two weeks, hundreds of people, including many women from Muslim households, have held several protests – including a human-chain protest across the state.
A group of people, including students of Jamia Millia Islamia, too held a demonstration near Tamil Nadu House in Delhi on Saturday, protesting against Chennai Police’s lathi charge against anti-CAA demonstrators.
Senior Officials Review the Situation
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami along with senior officials reviewed the law and order situation on Sunday.
According to reports, Home Secretary S K Prabakar, Chennai Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan, Public Secretary P Senthil Kumar and one of the secretaries of the Chief Minister, M Sai Kumar, were present at the meeting at the chief minister’s residence.
Various senior police officers have been assigned different districts to monitor the law and order situation across the state.