A week has passed by since the violence that rocked New Friends Colony, Friends Colony and Jamia Nagar and triggered strong protests against police action and the Citizenship Amendment Act in the capital.
“There is no fear anymore. Seeing your friends being beaten by cops takes the fear away,” said Sumbul, an undergraduate student of Jamia Millia Islamia, in between raising slogans, outside the varsity’s gate number 7. She has been here every day since December 15 — when the police entered and injured around 200 students, as per the university.
A week has passed by since the violence that rocked New Friends Colony, Friends Colony and Jamia Nagar and triggered strong protests against police action and the Citizenship Amendment Act in the capital. While violence was reported from different areas throughout the week — Seelampur, Daryaganj, and Delhi Gate — the protests outside the university have remained peaceful since.
“We have been closing our shops and coming here every day since the December 15 violence because the students need to know that they are not alone,” said Mohammad Ameer, 60, as he stood distributing tea and snacks to protesters. “We need to fight against this unconstitutional law peacefully. The politics that emanated from Gujarat is being spread to our country. We won’t let it happen.”
Songs of resistance, poetry, posters, and signature campaigns filled the air. The walls and metro pillars outside the campus were painted with slogans of resistance and solidarity to the protesters. Many residents took a break from their work to attend the protest at least once a day.
Demonstrations start at around 10 am everyday on Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Marg till evening prayers, after which they clean the streets and prepare for the next morning. On Saturday, a banner of the Preamble was tied to the spot as protesters raised slogans to “save the Constitution”.
An overwhelming number of protesters in these protests were women.
“I used to tell my friends in Pakistan that India never saw the human rights violations witnessed by them in their country. After all this, I was left in tears,” said Farazi Ali Naqvi, 29, as she adjusted her hijab and held onto her little boy wrapped in tricolour. “We have had the tricolour at our place since childhood. And now, we are being asked to furnish papers. I have to shout on the streets that this is my country. This is shameful.”
“My mother and siblings come here everyday. We saw that protesters were not able to go home to have water or food. So we decided to collect money and ensure we do our bit,” Umair Khan, a resident who is pursuing a diploma from the university, said before running off to hand out water pouches to an elderly couple.
Three kilometres from the varsity, residents of Shaheen Bagh are also camped on the Kalindi Kunj blocking the arterial road for seven days. The road connects Delhi to Faridabad in Haryana and Noida in Uttar Pradesh. “We said nothing when they abrogated Article 370 or even during the Babri Masjid verdict. But now, the government is moving towards dictatorship. There has to be a similar citizenship criteria for all as per our Constitution and that is what we demand. On Sunday, hundreds of us will fast here to register our protest,” said Danish Hassan, 32, who has taken leave from his work to protest since a week.