Kolkata: About 60 Muslim women are determined to carry on with their demonstration indefinitely at the Park Circus Maidan here to protest against the CAA, and the proposed nationwide NRC till there is a “favourable judgement”.
The sit-in by the women, ranging from homemakers to professionals, against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) on the lines of the Shaheen Bagh protest in Delhi, entered its 12th day here on Saturday.
One of the protestors Nauseen Baba Khan, a young research scholar, speaking to PTI at the dharna site, said, “It is a do-or-die battle. We will peacefully squat here till there is a judgement in our favour.”
Referring to the Supreme Court having fixed a bunch of 59 petitions on CAA, including those filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, for hearing on January 22, she said, “Let us see. Don’t want to comment on judicial matters but if the situation does not turn in our favour, we will continue to sit here.”
Another woman participant Farhat Islam, a homemaker, said, “We have been sitting in the open, braving the cold, using the ladies toilet in the nearby mosque located 100 metres away, for the past 10 days, but did not ever think about quitting.”
The PM had said ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ and now the BJP wants to turn bonafide Indians into second class citizens in the name of the CAA, she said.
“It is a challenge to right to life, right to livelihood, and we can’t take this. When your citizenship is gone – your money, property and job – everything becomes useless. It is another way of killing us. We are happy that the civil society is here to support us,” Farhat said.
After 10 days of the sit-in, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Authorities have provided three-four bio-toilets and other basic amenities for the women at the sprawling Park Circus Maidan on January 17, she added.
Nauseen said, “We don’t want cash, we have strictly asked everyone not to chip in with monetary help. We ask everyone to come physically and we are happy that thousands of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and members of other communities are turning up at the spot daily.”
To a question about the hardship being faced by them for sitting in the open since January 7, Farhat said, “Doctors from different hospitals visit us regularly to monitor our condition.
“Students from schools, colleges and universities such as Aliah University, Calcutta University, Presidency University, Jadavpur University and Surendranath College, have provided sanitary napkins while people in the area are extending every possible support.”
A fruit-seller by profession, Arjun Tewary, said, “Our sisters are enduring so much difficulties to secure our rights.”
“Isn’t it our duty to be of help to them?” he asked.
Muzaffar Ali, a businessman from Beniapukur area, said that he rushes to the venue every evening with his friends to express solidarity.
Various personalities such as singer Kabir Suman, social activists Umar Khalid and Yogendra Yadav and former home minister P Chidambaram have already visited the venue to express their support to the protesters. (PTI)
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