Monday, 30th October 2017

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‘JNU-like’ attack on Shaheen minds

Speculation about a similar strategy being employed at Shaheen Bagh to end the picketing

By Anita Joshua in New Delhi
  • Published 7.01.20, 3:54 AM
  • Updated 7.01.20, 3:54 AM
  • a min read
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Protesters hold placards during a demonstration against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens on New Years eve at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi, Tuesday, December 31, 2019. (PTI)

Sunday’s JNU violence has caused some apprehension among the women who have become the face of the Shaheen Bagh protest against the new citizenship regime, but they insist it has only strengthened their resolve to soldier on.

“Be it the students of Jamia or JNU, they are fighting for the Constitution, for us,’’ 50-year-old Mehrunissa, on a six-day-old hunger strike, told reporters on Monday afternoon from the podium at the protest site.

The energy that breathes life into the protest at night, when the crowd swells, was missing. Most of the women sat looking on without much expression.

Masked goons led allegedly by ABVP members ran amok at JNU on Sunday evening with sticks and rods, attacking students who were resisting the registration process for the next semester in protest at a hostel fee hike. Two professors were among the 20 admitted to hospital.

Students from various Delhi colleges who are providing backend support to the women said that what had happened in JNU could happen anytime at Shaheen Bagh.

Such fears predate the JNU violence but have deepened since, particularly as the police presence is negligible, strengthening speculation about a similar strategy being employed at Shaheen Bagh to end the picketing, which has entered its fourth straight week.

The traffic jams caused by the protest are apparently agitating neighbourhood residents and regular commuters who have to make a detour because of the barricading. There’s a fear that the rumblings may be used as an excuse to carry out a JNU-like attack on the protesters. The only sign of the police on Monday afternoon were the barricades.

The women are aware of the danger but insist they fear none and bear ill-will towards none.

“We have no complaint against the government. All we are seeking is the withdrawal of the CAA, NPR and NRC. We are not scared of anyone. We will not budge, come what may,’’ Mehrunissa said.