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Shaheen Bagh: 40th day of Protest against CAA, NPR & NRC, crowd increased and enthusiasm too- Ground Report

Yusuf Ansari, Twocircles.net

New Delhi. ‘Tere ghurur ko jalayegi, wo aag hun, Aakar Mujhe Dekh, Main Shaheen bagh hun (I am the fire that will burn your dust, come and see me, I am Shaheen Bagh) … ‘Jinhe naaz hai hind par wo kahan hai? Yhan hain, yahan hain, yahan hain.’ (Where are those who are proud on Hind? Here it is, here it is here).’ Posters with similar Sher-o-Shayari have been erected in place of Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, which has become a symbol of protest around the world. Shaheen Bagh is the place where peaceful protests have been going on against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for the last 40 days.

The demonstration began on 15 December at Shaheen Bagh. Today is its 40th day. Often, in such agitations, the enthusiasm of people starts to cool down with time. The crowd begins to feel sorry. But here is the reverse. The number of people participating in the performance is increasing with each day. People’s enthusiasm is also increasing rather than decreasing. Twocircles.net reviewed the entire atmosphere of morning, evening and night here for several days. Presenting ground report of site of Protest.

The place of protest against CAA, NPR and NRC at  Shaheen Bagh is between Kalindi Kunj and Jasola Vihar-Shaheen Bagh Metro Station. This place is about one kilometer away from both metro stations. Have to walk. Our team visited here in the morning, afternoon, evening and night. As soon as they get off the Metro Station, people join in chanting slogans against CAA, NPR and NRC. On the way you will find people going to join the protest and also people returning from the there too. Often people are in groups of three to five. Young, old, women or children are seen. The tents of the houses and streets on the shops automatically take you to the place of Protest in Shaheen Bagh.

Sher-o-Shayari and Sloganeering Atmosphere

Tents of about 50 meters in length have been installed at the place of picketing. It has been closed from all four sides. A roof is also built from above. Women sit here even in the rain. There is a small stage here. Here people take their turn in turn. On this platform, men are less, women and children are more. Some local people keep on taking frequent turns from the stage. When a big leader or celebrity comes, they are given a platform. In between, children’s groups climb on stage and chant slogans. Children enjoy slogans a lot.

Here someone reads his own poetry or poetry on or against CAA, NPR and NRC, while someone recites the Nazam or Ghazal of any famous poet. Most people read Faiz’s famous poem ‘We will see’. Someone has composed the entire song on Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Home Minister Amit Shah. Famous poets and songs and slogans sung in the freedom struggle also appear on the stage. A large number of women and men stand around the tent. These people listen to the children or people speaking on the stage and by clapping, they are also encouraged.

Day and night slogans

Different modes of performance appeared outside the pandal. People in small and big groups are either singing ‘I don’t believe, I don’t know’ (main nahi manta, Main nahi janta), penned by Habib Jalib, and then shouting slogans like ‘Modi is your dictatorship, won’t do it – won’t do’ (Modi teri tanashai, nahi chalegi, Nahi Chalegi). Somewhere young children are raising slogans of freedom (Azadi). A group of four little girls is often seen chanting the slogan ‘We will celebrate Eid in jail, we will not show papers’. In between, this swarm suddenly unites and takes the form of a small rally in the same half-km area. During this, their enthusiasm doubles.

Complete arrangements to make poster-banner & Play Cards

There are complete arrangements for making posters, banners and placards on the theme of protest. A tent has been especially built for this. Here students and other boys & girls are constantly making posters, banners and play cards. Anyone can make a poster here. Can carry the banner. Can write slogans. The footpath Foot-bridge is also under occupation by protesters. All the stuff is kept on the bridge. Whichever poster you want to make, you can make it sitting here. A person collecting poster material here said that five hundred to thousand people make posters on their own every day. They write what they need to write.

When our team asked who provides the necessary things for the poster, they tell that someone gives paper, cloth, then someone gives other things. This is how the entire material gathers. These posters are seen in the hands of people, and sometimes they hang on the Foot over Bridge. The walls of the Shaheen Bagh are covered with slogans, while the NRC and CAA are being opposed on the streets with different types of paintings. Somewhere along with these posters, a collection of some books will also be seen.

Map of India, Model of India Gate and Detention Center 

A 35 feet high map of India has been made near the site of the protest. It is made of about two and a half tons of iron. On one side it is written in Hindi and on the other side, in English, “We Indians reject CAA, NPR and NRC.” On one side of this map, the torch continues to burn throughout. On the other hand, onions have been placed in a big plate to show inflation.

It is here that a wooden model of India Gate has been made. On this, the names of those opposing the citizenship amendment law have been written as martyrs. There are also models of Detention Camp on the other side of the road. People stand in detention centers and take selfies and click photos. Some people are sitting in front of Model of India Gate carrying candles. Similarly, in different groups, these people are sitting on the streets lighting candles.

Sikhs are running food served in langar, biryani being distributed by some other people. The Sikh community have started the langar here just after the protest began. Food is served at day and night. In between, vehicles filled with biryani also come in the Shaheen Bagh. No one knows where this food comes from. The bus arrives. When our team was there, we saw that a person who had come to join protest called someone and asked him to send Biryani’s for 500 people. The support of the Sikh community is being continued here. One day a group of about a thousand people from Moga in Punjab came here. Gave his support of the movement throughout the day. Along with this, they provide the food to all protesters and serve tea to all people present there. 

Free medical camp too

A free medical camp has also been set up behind the stage. Along with medical checkup, medicines are also available for injuries or minor illnesses. Volunteer Abid Sheikh explains that people are making arrangements for food and drink themselves. The one who seems to come and feeds people here. People from the Sikh community started the langar. From time to time, Hindu-Muslim brothers also bring carts full of food. There are also new allegations being made to end the protest, but whoever comes here from once knows how well and peacefully people are performing here.

Craze of Tricolor painting on face 

People taking part in Shaheen Bagh’s performance are crazy for tricolor painting on their face. A volunteer who was painting saffron, white and green color on the faces of the people siad, ‘From morning to evening there is less crowd to make tricolor on the face, but the line does not break at night. If we get tired, then someone else takes care of a color bin. There is a team of 15-20 people. Sometimes it also falls short. ‘

How is this whole protest is being managed?

Abid Sheikh, a member of the Volunteer team, says that this performance is progressing with the mutual coordination of all people. Whoever wants to speak from the platform, keeps it. Where other people find a place, they protest through poster-banners, singing and playing. We have to take care of some things. As such, things do not come out of the stage that there is a ruckus, the groups who are performing in their own style on the road, do not go on the wrong track in any way. This has not happened, because there are no chaotic elements here. Even if we see something resembling a chaotic element, people throw it out of the display area.