No, a million people did not gather at Shaheen Bagh on Republic Day to witness the flag hoisting on Republic Day. But the number was enough to make it an electric event when the mother of Rohith Vemula, Radhika, and three ‘Dadis’, the oldest women in the protest, unfurled the flag together.
The celebrations had started at midnight with reading of the Preamble and singing of the national anthem. And the enthusiasm spilled over in the morning as people came out in large numbers, in their thousands actually, to support the people’s protest against the divisive and discriminatory CAA, the impending NPR and the threat of NRIC.
The following tweets capture the sight, sound and the mood at the protest site-
They even organised an auto-rickshaw rally with tableaux while showing a unique and peaceful way to protest against the amended Citizenship Act.
The women of Shaheen Bagh has been protesting for the past 43 days but while attempts were made to discredit them and insinuate that they were being paid to protest, they have been steadfast to their commitment.
In a statement issued by Shaheen Bagh Official, the protesters declared that the protest had no leader and the attempt to link them to a single person, a single video or a single incident by stray people would not move them from demanding that the Government repeal the Act. A few days ago, it was stated that the women of Shaheen Bagh were paid Rs 500 to protest and additionally served pizza and biryani to continue their sit-in.
The women have been demanding either the repeal of the Act or that the PM or the Home Minister meet them for a dialogue. But while both have been unresponsive so far, Home Minister Amit Shah has publicly called upon people to ensure that BJP wins the Assembly election in Delhi, so that protesters in Shaheen Bagh run for their lives.
The unfurling of the flag serves as a reminder to those have been attempting to subvert the narrative of the protests that the women of Shaheen Bagh remain committed to the Constitution.