Mumbai: Women take centre stage at anti-CAA demonstration

Updated: Jan 18, 2020, 07:43 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

Thousands take part in an only women's protest at YMCA ground; another protest march held in memory of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at Dadar.

Women protest against the CAA, NRC and NPR at YMCA ground. Pic/Atul Kamble
Women protest against the CAA, NRC and NPR at YMCA ground. Pic/Atul Kamble

In the background of the current political scenario, one can make the argument that the anti-CAA movement has had women at the forefront of it since day 1. After all, in Delhi's now-iconic Shaheen Bagh, women have been holding their ground for over a month now as a mark of peaceful protest.

On the same lines, on Friday a little over a thousand women, armed with posters that read "Dharna hai ya Darna hai," (Protest or get scared) invoked their Shaheen Bagh counterparts as they gathered at the YMCA ground, to raise their voice against the CAA (Citizenship Act), NRC (National Register of Citizens) and NPR (National Population Register).

"The cold in Mumbai amounts to nothing right now," said one of the women speakers on stage at the beginning of the program at 6.30 pm. "Go to Delhi and see Shaheen Bagh where several women have been bracing the cold and protesting peacefully." By 7 pm, the entire ground was filled with women holding numerous placards and anti-CAA posters.

A demonstrator holds a placard urging Shiv Sena to take a step against NPR in Dadar. Pic/Ashish Raje
A demonstrator holds a placard urging Shiv Sena to take a step against NPR in Dadar. Pic/Ashish Raje

A senior police officer present at the spot said that there were about 1,000-1,500 people and that around 450 police personnel had been deployed.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule was present during the demonstration. "I was worried if women would stay after 7 pm...But now I see that not a single woman has nudged from here, in spite of the shivering cold," she said addressing the crowd.

"What is in your (the people's) mind, the same thing is in the Maharashtra government's mind," she added.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, she said, "They both make statements that contradict each other. I was in the Parliament when Home Minister said that he would implement NRC across the country."

Several women student representatives from Jamia Islamia and AMU (Aligarh Muslim University) were also present at the venue. "It doesn't feel like we have left Delhi. It doesn't feel like Jamia is fighting alone," one of the Jamia students said.

Asma Zehra, chief coordinator of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), addressing the crowd said, "Seeing the energy with which all the women have gathered here, I am sure that this movement will see this fight till the very end."

Not-so-cryptic
Another anti-CAA protest march was held by a group called 'Hum Bharat Ke Log' from Kotwal Maidan to Chaitya Bhoomi in Dadar which was attended by about 60 people. But what stood out was, some protesters holding placards with the face of a tiger on it - the popular Shiv Sena symbol, with a message that read: "Dear Tiger. Be brave. Say NO to NPR!"

A core committee member of the group said: "These posters are a message to the Shiv Sena and Uddhav Thackeray. Aapne ab tak support kiya, abhi notification bhi release kar dijiye." (You have stood against NPR, now release a government notification to not incorporate NPR)

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