NEW DELHI: Replicating the Shaheen Bagh style of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), other Muslim-dominated localities of Delhi, too, have begun sit-in protests. So far, the peaceful protests have spread to at least nine localities, including Seelampur, Indralok, Chandbagh,
Mustafabad, Khureji, Wazeerabad, Hauz Rani, Jafrabad and Sri Ram Colony Khajuri.

Siba Saifi, one of the residents of Kardampuri, located between Shahadara and Yamuna Vihar, said: “Here, the movement was started by women. During day time, number of protesters decreases as people have to go to their work. However, by night, the number of protesters increases.” The women here have been protesting against CAA for the past five days. In most of these areas, people are sitting on the service lanes, unlike in Shaheen Bagh where people are sitting on the highway itself.

“We are not blocking any traffic. We are sitting on the service lane, which is not used by the motorists,” Saifi added.

While the protests are being organised and led by locals, there has been a continuous attempt by local politicians to hijack the stage. Aqsa Jia, one of the organisers of the protest in Indralok, told The Sunday Guardian: “When we began our protest, the politicians were nowhere to be seen. However, the moment our protest gained momentum and more people became part of the protest, some local politicians tried to occupy our stage. The locals were able to send the politicians back home. We are here for a cause and we don’t want it to get politicised.”

Since the Delhi Assembly elections are around the corner, local politicians are too eager to hijack the protests. A protester at Kardampuri, who did not wish to be named, said: “Our speakers are women. We won’t let any politicians to hijack our stage as it will dilute the whole issue.” Shajia, a resident of Mustafabad, said: “It is obvious that the politicians are trying to woo the protesters as our numbers are increasing every day. We are trying our best to keep them away from our protests.”

In Mustafabad, the protest has entered the eighth day. Here, thousands of women are spending nights on the street to mark their protests against the CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC). The residents said that their protest will continue till the next hearing of the Supreme Court.

Shabnab, a protester in Mustafabad, said: “Most of us have no prior experience of participating in any protest nor have personal history of activism. Thus, many activists, students and civil society organisations are helping us by arranging speakers. However, financially we have not received any help. We are managing it at the community level.”

It is to be mentioned here that several Left organisations, human right groups and civil society groups of Delhi are working as a support system to the protesters in terms of providing them logistical as well as legal support.

An activist who is working closely with the protesters told The Sunday
Guardian: “Many of the protesters have come out on the streets for the first time. We are just extending our solidarity to them and helping them
legally or in terms of sharing our ideas with them.”

The Indian Civil Liberty Union (ICLU), an organisation run by lawyers, is
helping the protesters by assisting them legally.

Anas Tanwir, member of ICLU, said: “Whenever there is a violation of civil liberty or other civil rights, our team is helping the protesters. Apart from providing legal assistance, we are also organising workshops on NPR and NRC at the protest sites.”