For the past one months Shaheen Bagh is protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act and the crowd is growing day after another. While the right-wing politicians prefer to describe the Shaheen Bagh protest as a ‘Muslim initiative’, the protest wears a secular heart where verses from the Quran and the Bible were read out as notes of a shabad kirtan were reverberated at the core spot of the stage and a havan was performed.
Roads and lanes leading to Shaheen Bagh were jam-packed on Sunday as thousands of people joined the ongoing protest against the amended citizenship law and National Register of Citizens (NRC). This spot has become one of the largest gatherings ever since the agitation began four weeks ago.
While hundreds have been gathering at Shaheen Bagh everyday, protesters attributed the increase in numbers on Sunday to the weekend and the pleasant weather. Inter-faith prayer meetings saw reading out the Preamble to the Constitution.
Unlike other days, both the carriageways of road 13A were full of protesters armed with posters and flags against CAA. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who visited Jamia Millia Islamia and Shaheen Bagh on Sunday, tweeted that he was stuck in severe traffic on the 3-km stretch from the varsity and Shaheen Bagh.
“So thick were the crowds and so blocked the traffic that we had to walk the last fifteen minutes to reach the site (Jamia). But the audience’s enthusiasm made it all worthwhile,” he wrote on Twitter.
Despite a section of organisers pulling out on January 2, the protests at Shaheen Bagh have continued. From a replica of India Gate with names of those who died during anti-CAA protests, to a model detention centre to raise awareness, to graffiti and posters, the protesters have used unique methods to express their dissent. An interfaith prayer meeting to counter “divisive forces trying to polarise the country” was also held at the protest site.
Apart from readings from the Bible and the Quran, the prayer meeting, which went on for about two hours, also saw Hindu priests performing “yagna”. Hundreds of protesters also participated in reading of the Preamble to the Constitution. The protesters are also planning to organise another interfaith meeting on January 19.
The slogan that has now become associated with the movement at Shaheen Bagh — Awaaz do, hum ek hain — rang out over and over again as women and men took a tiranga march through the lanes of the colony.