Corona Crisis: Kolkata’s Park Circus Protesters ‘Work’ From Home

Anti-CAA protestors at Kolkata’s Park Circus left their shoes at the site as they practice social distancing.

Updated
India
3 min read
Protestors at the anti-CAA protestors in Park Circus that was on for 75 days, have cleared the protest site but have kept shoes to show that protest is not off.
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After 75 days of continuous protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), protestors at Kolkata's Park Circus Maidan have cleared the venue, except for seven people.

However, the protest has not been called off. The protestors are "working from home", if you would, as they have left their shoes or items of clothing with their names at the protest site.

"We were sitting there for the sake of humanity – so that humanity does not face any difficulties. We are sometimes made to stand in line to get basic necessities. Sometimes we are discriminated against on the basis of Mandirs and Masjids. We were there to save humanity. Coronavirus is destroying humanity", said Asmat Jamil, one of the chief organisers of the protest, to The Quint.

"Our country has a law. And whenever the country is facing any kind of disaster, we will only work in the interests of the nation and its people," she added.

“There were all kinds of people who came to the protest. From a rickshawwala to a doctor; from a homeless person to an engineer. So we knew that there was a threat to society if the sit-in continued. The government requested us to call off the sit-in. We were also thinking of deferring it. After consultation with the government, and a meeting among the organisers, we have decided on 23 March, 6 pm, only seven people will sit at the venue.”
Asmat Jamil to The Quint

"However the people at the site did not want to go. We pleaded with them that they should. As a solution and to continue the protest, we asked them to leave their shoes or a piece of their clothing at the venue," said Jamil.

A protestor leaves a piece of paper with their name on it at the Park Circus protest venue.
A protestor leaves a piece of paper with their name on it at the Park Circus protest venue.
(Photo: Aisha Zaman)

"Some of then even said that they'd rather die of coronavirus than in detention centres. We explained to them that their lives are of utmost value and that they can only fight against injustice if they see this crisis through," she said.

A protestor leaves their shoes and a piece of paper with their name on it at the Park Circus protest venue.
A protestor leaves their shoes and a piece of paper with their name on it at the Park Circus protest venue.
(Photo: Aisha Zaman)

When asked about how graffiti and signs from similar protest sites in Delhi, like in Shaheen Bagh and Jamia, were being cleared, Asmat said that the government in West Bengal has been very cooperative.

“The way the Delhi Police handled protestors there deserves the worst kind of condemnation. But the police and government in West Bengal have been very supportive, keeping us safe and providing us with basics like water and toilets.”
Asmat Jamil, Organiser

The protest at Kolkata's Park Circus, along the same lines as Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, was started by the women of Park Circus, one of Kolkata's most densely populated Muslim areas, on 7 January 2020, against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The protest that began with 60 women soon grew to to people from all over Kolkata gathering in solidarity or to offer help.

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