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Shaheen Bagh protesters to celebrate Republic Day by reading Preamble

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2020 11:18 PM IST

Protesters at Shaheen Bagh said that they will celebrate the 71st Republic Day by reading the preamble of the Indian Constitution at midnight on Sunday. They have also invited artistes to organise street plays and music shows to create awareness about the Indian constitution at the protest site.

At least 500 protesters, mostly women, have been protesting in Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for the last 40 days. The protesters have been maintaining that they will not call off the agitation until the amended act is withdrawn.

Danish Hasan, one of the organizers of the Shaheen Bagh protest said that the reading of the Preamble will be held at midnight on Sunday.

“The protest in Shaheen Bagh is majorly to save our constitution from the present government, which is trying to destroy it by making draconian amendments. On the occasion of Republic Day, we are going to read the Preamble of the Indian Constitution and remind everyone that Indian is a secular nation,” he said.

The protesters have also invited artists from across the city to contribute to the decorating of the protest site with artwork in the Republic Day theme. In posters issued by the protesters, artists have been called to register to make “jhankis”(tableaus), posters and banners celebrating India and the Indian Constitution. “We will also hoist a large flag and sing the national anthem as a part of our celebrations,” Hasan said.

Several thousand protesters at Shaheen Bagh had gathered to welcome the New Year by singing the National Anthem followed by a night full of revolutionary songs and poems on January 1.

Fatma Begum, 65, who has been protesting in Shaheen Bagh since Day 1, said, “Republic Day is special for us (the protesters) because it’s when our Constitution had come into force. Our battle for saving the constitution should strength from the 71st anniversary of the Indian Constitution.”

Since December 16, around 500 protesters have blocked the Delhi-Noida border at Shaheen Bagh near Kalindi Kunj to protest against the CAA and NRC. The protesters have erected a stage on one carriageway towards Noida, while the other carriageway towards Delhi has been blocked by a 30-foot high map of India made of iron. The blockade at such a busy stretch has been leading to massive jams on Mathura road, Ring Road and the DND Flyway through the day.

A delegation of Shaheen Bagh protesters had, earlier this week, met lieutenant-governor (L-G) Anil Baijal. The L-G had appealed to the protesters to maintain peace and call off their agitation given the inconvenience caused to patients (at least two major hospitals are located in the vicinity), daily commuters and residents.

Ramdev cancelled visit to Shaheen Bagh

Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, who was to visit Shaheen Bagh on Saturday, cancelled his visit after the Delhi Police advised him against it, officials said. Ramdev had, on Friday, announced that he would visit Shaheen Bagh and have a dialogue with the agitators.

A police officer, not authorised to speak to the media, on Saturday said. “We had apprised Baba Ramdev about the law and order situation there and told him that his visit would not serve any purpose. He accepted our suggestion and cancelled his visit.”

During a TV interview on Friday, Ramdev had said, “I will speak to the Delhi Police about my plan of visiting Shaheen Bagh. I will go there and speak to the protesters. They are our people. They are not outsiders. I will listen to their concerns and convey them to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.”

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