Anti-CAA protests: Shaheen Bagh(s) during the Janta Curfew

For the Janta curfew, only two women were allowed at the protest site. Women are also not sitting on mattresses, rather cots have been placed with a distance between them. Sanitizers and masks are being distributed at the site.

Anti-CAA
Shaheen Bagh during the times of COVID-19

Amidst the Janta curfew, right-wing forces are still at work trying to ensure that the Anti-CAA protests come to a halt. A petrol bomb was thrown at the police barricades near the Shaheen Bagh (Delhi) protest site.

Petrol bob hurled at the Shaheen Bagh today According to the Police, the bomb was thrown by some protestors. There have been clashes amongst the protestors regarding the protest since yesterday. “Last night, we received a call about a fight there and had to intervene. Due to the coronavirus scare, few of the protesters want to call off the sit-in protest while others debated and they fought with each other.” Said Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Kumar Gyanesh. There were two people on a bike who were seen throwing the bomb. There have been no injuries reported.

There were rumors that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, protests across the country would come to a crashing halt. This did not happen. Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh continued to soldier on with a number of precautions in place. At Shaheen Bagh protestors will not be allowed to sit for more than four hours at a stretch as a preventive measure. The protest has now become silent protests and children and elderly women will not be allowed at the site. For the Janta curfew, only two women were allowed at the protest site. Women are also not sitting on mattresses, rather cots have been placed with a distance between them. Sanitizers and masks are being distributed at the site.

The sit-in in Mumbai Bagh continues too. Organizers have said that they will continue the protest with fewer people and more precautions. They asked senior citizens, mothers, with children under the age of 5, and people with the illness to not come for the protests. They have taken precaution measures by having volunteered at entry points who have sanitizers and masks to give those coming for the protest. They have asked BMC to sanitize the area and have on-call doctors for check-ups. Other protest sit-ins in the city with about five people or less attending the protests.

The protests in Bilal Bagh at Bangalore continue as well. Organizers have said they will continue their protests. “To shut this place down means defeat for the anti-CAA movement. We are fighting for our future.” The women are resolute and have decided to move ahead with the protests but by ensuring the utmost safety of the protesters. They have taken to screening visitors, dispensing sanitized, handing out home-made masks, conducting sessions about the virus, and ensuring that protestors are sitting one meter away from each other. They have also been sanitizing the place throughout the day and ensuring all visitors wash their hands before entering. Like the Mumbai Bagh, they also have a doctor-on-call to ensure there are regular checks for the protestors.

Kolkata Shaheen Bagh has also continued its protest with ensuring sanitizers and masks are distributed amongst protestors, distance is maintained between the protestors, and the footfall for the protest is kept willfully low. The Shaheen Bagh in Kondhwa, Pune has decided to also continue with the sit-in with only 5 to 8 women occupying the protest site at a point of time.

The Chennai Shaheen Bagh has temporarily called off the protests amidst the COVID-19 spread as a precautionary measure.

The Baghs have been resilient in their fight. “If PM Modi wants us to be safe from coronavirus then he should have withdrawn CAA, NPR, and NRC. We will continue our protests” one of the protestors at Shaheen Bagh said.

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