‘Sahib udhar bohot jam hai, escort tak jaa sakta hu’ (There is a lot of traffic jam on that side, can go till Escort hospital) said the auto driver when I asked him to drop me at Shaheen Bagh. The auto driver was right because right from Holy Family hospital there was a lot of traffic jam on way to Shaheen Bagh. It appeared as if some big Bollywood star had come to Shaheen Bagh. People were eager to reach the place where the protest against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act has been going on at Shaheen Bagh. By ten on Sunday night, the organisers and people present were saying that there were more than one lakh people gathered there to protest.
Urooj, the resident of Jogabai extension, said: “I had to walk all along for fifteen minutes to reach the spot as I could not get any transport, it appears that entire Delhi has come here.” Urooj along with her family members reached the spot around 10.30 pm and was very unhappy with the government “Why can’t the government understand the sentiments of common people and why the government is so adamant?” She wondered.
At the protest site, there is a cut out of India Gate on which the names of those youths are written who died during the anti-CAA protests across the country. What’s remarkable is that the people from all faiths have gathered there and have been visiting the protest site to demonstrate that this protest is not by one community only. The Sikhs were there and holding Keertan, Hindus were holding Hawan, Muslims were reciting verses from Quran whereas Christians were reading from the Bible and at the same time people also read the preamble of the Constitution. Social Activist DS Bindra, who is regularly spotted at Jama Masjid stairs after namaz on every Friday since protests began, was there with his Sikh fellow men to express solidarity with the protesters. “This fight against CAA or NRC is not of one community, it is a fight for secular India,” says Bindra
Haider, a resident of Zakir Nagar is regularly spending two to three hours at Shaheen Bagh “I regularly come here to express solidarity and help in maintaining discipline.” Many local youths just come to help the organisers. While moving towards the main stage one can see a group of people chanting Azadi (freedom) slogans, singing patriotic songs and revolutionary ghazals. Protesters can be seen holding various innovative placards and carrying huge tricolours.
On Sunday, Shaheen Bagh witnessed the biggest gathering since the protest started by the women of Shaheen Bagh after the violence at Jamia University. Hundreds of local women have been sitting in Shaheen Bagh to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Women with their kids and even small babies sit for hours in the open in this freezing cold. Women of this area usually do not go out much and are housewives but for the last four weeks, they have been sitting here to protest the citizenship law and are unflinching in their determination. “We will continue this protest until the government withdraws CAA,” one of them says softly yet firmly.