Amid new year celebrations, protests against the amended citizenship law continued in various parts of Delhi including at Shaheen Bagh, Jamia university and the India Gate where agitators sang legendary poet Faiz Ahamed Faiz”s ”Hum Dekhenge” and pledged to “defend the Constitution”.
At the Jamia Millia Islamia, which has become the epicentre of the protests in Delhi against the amended citizenship law, scores of students and civil society members carrying the tricolour and banners squatted on one carriageway of the road outside the university.
Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker and her co-star from ”Raanjhanaa” Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub attended a public meeting on the new legislation outside the university and lauded protestors” efforts in continuing the agitation.
“We have woken up late but now we have woken up. You have woken up the entire country. We are here to thank you,” Bhasker said and termed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act a “targeted” law.
While Ayyub raised slogans ”Hum EK Hain” and ”Inquilab Zindabad”, Bhasker recited lyricist Varun Grover”s poem against the citizenship law which has the punchline ”Hum kaagaz nahi dikhayenge (We won”t show documents)”.
Following the public meeting, a candlelight march was organised by the alumni association of the university outside gate number 7, which has become a protest site after the December 15 violence. The students of Jamia welcomed the New year with cries of ”Inquilab Zindabad” and ”Azaadi”.
The sit-in protest by women at Shaheen Bagh continued after a night where they welcomed the new year by singing the national anthem and raising the slogan ”Azaadi”. Bhasker visited the protest site after addressing the gathering at Jamia Millia Islamia.
Almost 11 kilometres away at India Gate, slogans such as “Hum kaagaz nahi dikhayenge” and “tanashahi nahin chalegi” rent the air.
The number of protesters as well as visitors, who were out to celebrate the New Year on a sunny day, swelled around the iconic monument causing the traffic to virtually crawl in adjoining areas.
Celebrating the new year by “reading the preamble”, the protesters, including students from various universities, then took a pledge that they will “not show any document”, referring to the planned National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
Several activists and artistes gathered at the Constitution Club of India under the aegis of Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) and recited poems, sang songs of dissent drawn from the works of Faiz like ”Hum Dekhenge” and took part in plays to express their solidarity with people protesting the amended citizenship law.
PinjraTod, a women”s collective of students and alumni of colleges across Delhi, alleged that a march being carried out by women in Jaffrabad was halted by the police and RAF personnel, who even demanded their address proof.
A senior police officer said the women were not halted or threatened but were told that prohibitory orders, banning the assembly of four or more persons, were in place following which they left the area.