THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 15 JANUARY, 2020
“Such Emotion, Such Grit” - Women in Kanpur, Allahabad Take a Cue from Shaheen Bagh
Uttar Pradesh is moving out of the shadows of terror unleashed by the police in the wake of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act with women in the lead. Taking a cue from Shaheen Bagh in Delhi hundreds of women started an indefinite dharna in Kanpur, and within days this has been followed in Allahabad with local women camping day and night for the withdrawal of CAA, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register.
In Kanpur the women are sitting in Mohammad Ali Part that is in Chamanganj, a crowded Muslim dominated area. It is a working class, low middle income area. Women have come out in hundreds and as CPI(M) Politburo member Subhashini Ali who has been addressing meetings all over UP told The Citizen, “women have come bursting out of their homes in hundreds, some very poor women. With their children. And such jazba! Such emotion! Such grit! The women are there for their children. The girls are there for their future. But there are also their to demonstrate their wajood, their existence.”
The women, with hijab and without, have been sitting there every day now since January 7 with men folk surrounding the site. A memorandum with their demands to withdraw CAA, NRC an NPR was officially accepted by an official from the local administration with the dreaded police under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath being clearly kept at a distance now. Kanpur suffered deeply with three persons being killed in the recent round of violence. But now the protest is being carried forward with cups of steaming tea, revolutionary songs and the national flag. The women, for whom this is a first, know why they are there and link their protest to that in Shaheen Bagh saying they will fight until the Bill is withdrawn.
In fact Kanpur has emerged out of the abyss with advocates signing petitions against CAA-NRC-NPR in the hundreds, people taking out demonstrations including a silent march through the localities that faced the brunt of police violence, and holding meetings all across. Citizens came together to form a Save Democracy front with convenor Kuldeep Saxena clear that UP is now fighting back. Saxena told The Citizen that the struggle will continue in different forms, and will only intensify. Several leaders are addressing the meetings explaining the nuances and placing the struggle well within the ambit of the Constitution of India. The video below records Subhashini Ali in Kanpur:
The womens protests have spread to Allahabad where they have come out again in the hundreds, young and old of all religions, to sit in dharna. Young leader Richa Singh is there who was earlier the first woman president of the Allahabad University Students Union, excited that this time the government is facing the anger of women on these “unconstitutional” CAA-NRC. The emphasis here remains on the Constitution, on secularism, on citizenship for all, on equality and justice peppered with songs, poetry, slogans and speeches. The administration and the police is now only “appealing” to the women to end the protest.
The urgency for a roll back is far more in UP as Yogi Adityanath has started the process of implementation despite the protests. 19 persons were killed in police action.