One of the women with the banner, Sunday. (Express photo: Prem Nath Pandey)
“Badtameez ladki,” “naak kata di,” and “ghar se baahar niklo” are some of the things Surya Rajappan (27) and her 26-year-old flatmate heard from their landlord and neighbours on Sunday evening when they unfurled an anti-CAA banner from the balcony of their rented house in South East Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar — as Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally crossed their lane.
The two women, who are Delhi-based working professionals, have been evicted from the house. Rajappan, an advocate in the Delhi High Court, told The Indian Express, “We raised ‘We reject CAA’ and ‘We reject NRC’ slogans as Shah’s rally crossed the lane. While Shah didn’t flinch, the crowd around him, including our landlord, looked up and got really angry. Within five minutes, a mob reached our doorstep and starting banging the door.”
Rajappan said she and her flatmate “feared for their lives” as the crowd asked them to come out of the house, which they refused to do. This was around 5 pm, she said, and the two were finally “escorted out of the house by police at 11 pm”.
On Sunday noon, Rajappan said she heard pro-CAA slogans in the lane and learnt that cars were being parked elsewhere to facilitate movement of the rally.
“I have been attending anti-CAA protests in Delhi for a month now but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity — to protest in front of Shah. At 1.30 pm, we picked up a white bedsheet and pink and purple spray paint lying at home and made this banner with the following words: “Shame; CAA and NRC, crossed out; Jai Hind; Azadi and #NotInMyName,” she said.
Rajappan said at 4.45 pm, as Shah crossed the lane, they unfurled the bedsheet banner from the balcony.“The banner was up for less than two minutes and was pulled down by someone from the crowd. When the mob started coming towards our house, I called up my lawyer friends, my father, and a senior police officer. In an hour, 15 lawyers showed up but they were pushed around by the crowd. My father reached too and though he wasn’t heckled, people said things like ‘beti ko control mein nahi rakha’,” said Rajappan, who moved into the house two months ago.
Rajappan submitted a complaint to the Delhi Police and the two women are currently staying at an alternative accommodation. “I don’t care about the mob, that’s not what our fight is about... The real issue is being evicted over political ideology; this divisive politics of Shah; and statements such as ‘it’s time to teach Delhi’s tukde-tukde gang a lesson’,” she said.