The women walked from Hamdard Dawakhana to Jama Masjid, Wednesday. (Express Photo: Anil Sharma)
On a Wednesday evening that saw light rain, hundreds of women residing in Old Delhi left their household chores, tuition and work to participate in a protest march against the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Holding candles and placards, the women, some of them accompanied by their children, walked from Hamdard Dawakhana to Jama Masjid. The busy streets of Jama Masjid saw more than 2,000 protesters walking in the narrow lanes. “Hindi hain hum, vatan hai” echoed in the streets as ‘Saare Jahan Se Acha’ was sung by the crowd. As the women huddled closer, the male volunteers — students and locals — formed a human chain around them and guided them around the traffic and occasional potholes.
An MA first-year student from Delhi University’s Arts Faculty, Sarah Jawed Chawla, walked in front of the march. A resident of the area for the last 25 years, she said the protest is for the “unity of the country”.
“The government is bringing laws which will divide the country. We will not let this happen. The violence in universities is unacceptable,” she said while walking towards Jama Masjid.
As the crowd swelled, a voice came from behind. “Apne haqq ke liye awaaz uthayie... hum desh bachane nikale hain, aao hamare saath chalo,” said one of the women, asking shopkeepers and other residents to join the march.
The march began at 6.30 pm and the group reached Jama Masjid for a peaceful sit-in at 7.30 pm. Sitting on the stairs, the women held up candles. The other side of the stairs saw the men raising slogans against
“Hum bachon ke saath khade hain, bache bhaviaysha hain aur unhi ke haath, paer tod rahe hain. Unko bachaane ke liye hum sadak par utre hain (Students are the future of our country but their hands, legs are being broken. We have come down on the roads to save them),” said Zeenat Junaid.
Most were wrapped in shawls as the temperature dipped in the evening. “I just wanted to support the people here. We have been coming to Jama Masjid every evening since January 1 to carry out a peaceful protest.This is our eighth day and we will continue doing it till the time our students are safe and we are safe,” said Sayeeda Begum.
After sitting there for 45 minutes, the crowd dispersed at 8.20 pm and ended the march by singing the national anthem.