Bhopal: The historical Iqbal Maidan in Madhya Pradesh's capital city has played home to voices of dissent since December 10, with several civil society groups protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR), and the proposed pan-India implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
To further sharpen their protest, the co-ordination committee leading the protests in Bhopal will observe a week-long event as part of the 'NRC-CAA Virodh Pratishodh Saptah', which got underway on Thursday, the day of birth of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The protest week will culminate on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary on January 30, when the coordination committee has planned a massive event at Iqbal Maidan.
Prominent among those who have confirmed their participation are Aishe Ghosh, president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students' Union. Ghosh, one of the notable faces of dissent in New Delhi against the CAA, suffered head injuries after a mob of masked assailants stormed the JNU campus and its hostels on the night of January 5, wounding her and several other students and faculty members.
Senior journalist Arfa Khanum, another notable personality against the CAA, will also attend the protest on January 30, said Shawez Sikandar, one of the media coordinators at Iqbal Maidan.
The organisers have also got in touch with Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, actors Sushant Singh and Zeeshan Ayyub, among others.
The coordination committee, which comprises around two dozen organisations working for the welfare of Muslims, tribals and Dalits, is planning to support similar protests in other districts of the state.
Iqbal said protesters at Iqbal Maidan have been organising daily events like blood donation, poetic conventions, sessions with lawyers, eminent social workers and others. He said that monetary help from the public helps them manage daily expenses, with a donation box present at the protest site.
Pointing to a group of Muslim women taking part in a panel discussion on the issues of NRC-NPR-CAA, Seema Kurup, one of the organisers and chief of Madhya Pradesh Democratic Rights Front, said, “These women who run households are from Gandhinagar and are being informed about the details of these contentious legislations.”
Kurup said while the women felt both the legislation and the NRC is against Muslims, they are now being informed that the issues would only affect the poor, tribals, Dalits and those from the deprived classes.
"How can the homeless, flood-affected and orphaned kids furnish their citizenship documents?" she asked.
The organisers have also maintained a presennce on social media.
“We have created a 'Bhopal Satyagrah' page on Facebook, we live-stream events, and use WhatsApp and Twitter to propagate our cause,” said Parvez Qureshi, a member of the social media team.