How Shaheen Bagh Inspired Women-Led Protests Across the Country

Scores of women protesters across India have been inspired by those protesting at the forefront in Shaheen Bagh.

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The women of Shaheen Bagh have now come to be known for their month-long peaceful yet unassailable protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Their voices of dissent, however, are not confined to the streets of Shaheen Bagh anymore as they have successfully snowballed into a pan-India movement against CAA and NRC. From Pune to Patna to Prayagraj, scores of women protesters have been inspired by those at the forefront in Shaheen Bagh, braving the harsh weather.

Zeenat, a homemaker residing in Delhi’s Khureji, has been part of the round the clock protests against CAA and NRC, alongside around 1,000 other protesters.

“I haven’t gone back home yet. I have been up all night. I am here because my sisters are here. Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs... everyone is here. Women of Shaheen Bagh have been an inspiration to us. For around 20 days, they have left their little children behind to protest in this harsh weather.”
Zeenat, Homemaker, Khureji

“We are like their mothers... they have brought us to the streets,” says Mehrunnisa, a homemaker from Patna’s Sabzi Garh, where over 600 people are part of the anti-CAA protests. She raises questions over CAA, saying that they deserve to stay as their ancestors have also sacrificed their lives for the country.

Sara, a student, is a part of a protest at Prayagraj’s Mansoor Ali Park, where over 3,000 women protesters have relentlessly condemned the act. She believes it is an attempt to create differences amongst the people.

“We are protesting here because we do not want CAA or NRC to be implemented in our country. This is an attempt to create differences amongst the people. Through CAA, if you are calling people from outside, how would you give us employment?”
Sara, Student, Prayagraj

Protesters like Zeenat, Sara and Mehrunnisa are joined by over 300 women protesters in Pune’s Kondhwa, around 1,000 women in Kanpur, as many as 700 women protesters at Kolkata’s Park Circus Maidan and around 500 at Shantibagh Area in Gaya.

MN Anjum, a college professor protesting in Gaya’s Shantibagh area, says that the government should have taken everyone’s opinion before passing any law.

“Before passing any law, the government must indulge in a debate and seek everyone’s opinion. To pass a law suddenly is not right, it is not democratic. You are asking us if we are Indian citizens or not. You are getting people from outside and asking them to stay here. Please understand this.”
MN Anjum, College Professor, Gaya

(With inputs from Umesh Kumar Ray in Patna and Raza Naqvi in Kanpur)

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