Anti-CAA protest at ‘Shaheen Bagh Kondhwa’ in Pune enters 9th day
To express solidarity, the protesters were visited by Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar
Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, a Muslim neighbourhood near the Jamia Millia Islamia University, has become an inspiration for many across the country, including the women from Kondhwa area of Pune, to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizenship (NRC).
For more than a week, a large group of women, under the banner of Kul Jamat-e-Tanzeem, an umbrella organisation of like-minded local bodies, have been on indefinite dharna (sit-in) in Kondhwa to register their protest.
While many drop by evening to join the protest every evening, over 50 young girls and women have been sitting on dharna outside Konark Indrayu Mall for the last nine days. To express solidarity, the protesters were visited by Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar on Saturday evening.
“People of the country have shown a lot of patience and have woken up late. The people should have risen to the occasion when Pehlu was lynched,” Bhaskar said.
Dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was dragged out of the truck in which he was transporting cattle bought from a fair and assaulted cow vigilantes on the Jaipur-Delhi highway. The 55-year-old died in hospital.
As part of protests, those on sit-in not just host plays and speeches, but raise slogans against CAA and NRC.
“We started the protest after being inspired by what is happening in Shaheen Bagh, and we have named it Shaheen Bagh in Kondhwa. When it started on January 10, the crowd was less, including women. But now women from all walks of life have joined,” said first year Poona College student Zakiya Khan.
She said 500-600 women and girls were camping at the place all through the day, several of whom come directly from work or college and school.
Zakiya, a part-time teacher, said medicines and other essential items have been stocked to take care of any medical emergency, and makeshift toilets have also been set up.
“The cold winter is not deterring people. In fact, the crowd has increased,” she claimed.
Arzoo Khan, one of the protesters, said the movement was to save the country and Constitution, while Alsaba Shaikh, a doctor, said the programme includes candlelight vigil, human chains and speeches denouncing CAA and NRC.
The venue is full of banners carrying messages like ‘Tumhari Lathi Se Tej Hamari Awaaz Hai’ and ‘Liar Liar Desh on Fire’, as well as ‘India Needs Education, Jobs, Not CAA, NRC, NPR’. (With agency inputs)