It is a fight to ensure secure future, reason out women agitators

Amid the chorus of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act slogans, girls proudly show mehandi designs drawn on their hands which screams ‘No CAA, no NRC’ in crimson red.
It is a fight to ensure secure future, reason out women agitators
Fazalah Begum, Nida Sabireem and Sumava


The continuous protest in Washermanpet roundtana is witnessing more and more women joining the agitation in solidarity with the 62-day-long protests at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi and in response to police violence at an anti-CAA protest held at the same area on Friday. “We are all gathered to not only oppose the Act that the government passed, but also show our solidarity with our sisters in Shaheen Bagh. There are Christians, Hindus and Muslims here. We all have to support each other,” said Fathima Sharmila.

What we protest for is simple, she said – “this country is as much ours as anyone else’s, despite what the CAA, NPR and NRC say, and thus we have no place in India’s democracy.” “The CAA is harmful because it discriminates based on religion. The need to provide our family’s birth certificates is another problem as many of us do not have those details. Many here have lost those documents due to several natural disasters,” said 28-year-old Sharmila.

“We are worried of its implementation in Assam and fear the same might befall us here,” said 38-year-old Sumava S. Though a few women could not state their exact issues with the NPR and NRC, many said it was the same move in a different guise.

The biggest motivating factor they stated for the protests is their responsibility to the future generation. “We are doing this for not only for ourselves, but for the next generation. Their status here is as much as mine. I am a student. I have come here with my classmates. We are the next generation and we must do our bit for the future,” said 20-year-old Nida Sabireem, a college student. Fazalah Begum, a 39-year-old mother, who has been protesting for three days continuously, while her 15-year-old son prepares for his board examination, said, “I trust him enough to study at home. He comes here and protests with me too, if he has finished his studies for the day. This is more important than that and besides, his school is already drowning him in test papers to prepare him,” she said. For some, it was first time experience. For others, particularly for Sumava, this was a familiar sight. “I got married in 2003 and two years after my marriage, I used to go with my husband to protests. We even take our four children with us. Protesting is not only our right, but our duty to our brothers and sisters,” she said, adding that she was a volunteer at this protest as well. “When a woman leaves her house and her duties at home to protest on the street, that’s when the government takes notice. No offense to our men, but women protesting for an issue must be taken more seriously because we are finally entering the public space,” said Sumava. “People are of the opinion that we are always kept inside homes. That is wrong. This is us using our freedom for the greater good,” said Sharmila.

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