shaheen

New Delhi, March 24, 2020:

Braving the lockdown amid the rampant spread of the coronavirus, a few laborers could be seen wiping away graffiti on Jamia Millia University walls, which are some of the last remnants of the months-long resistance movement against the amendment of the Citizenship Act. The protest site at Shaheen Bagh has also been cleared by the authorities amid the lockdown, 101 days after it was kickstarted by concerned locals (a majority of them women).

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Among others, the walls also contained the visage of Akhil Gogoi, that enduring symbol of Assam’s movement against the CAA, who still finds himself in prison. Further, the messages splayed out across the walls urged the Government to roll back the contentious fee hikes as well as repeal the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, under which Akhil has been booked. Now, these have all been erased.

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Himadree Sonowal, an Assamese student from the JNU who took part in the anti-CAA movement, alleges that the Government, by erasing these murals, is attempting to erase the memory of the long-drawn out struggle against the CAA that left several protesters martyred. She said, “In the midst of pandemic when the job of Government is to provide basic facilities to all those working outside their homes for the people, the government prioritises whitewashing the walls of Delhi. Thankyou Delhi police and Modi ji. Also special thanks to AAP for remaining silent the entire time. These are not just concrete walls but symbols of our resistance.”

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Shaheen Bagh Protesters Dispersed after 101 Days:

Meanwhile, we have also received reports that the Shaheen Bagh protest site — the most controversial as well as most enduring of the places where slogans against the discriminatory act were raised — has been cleared. Amid nationwide lockdown over highly contagious novel coronavirus or COVID-19, Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh – heart of protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA – was cleared this morning by the Delhi Police after 101 days of sit-in protests.

According to NDTV reports, cops reached Shaheen Bagh at 7 AM in the morning in order to clear the protesters. A police official told the media that the protesters were not clearing the protest site despite repeated persuasion, adding that when they refused to clear up, they were removed forcefully at around 7:30 am. It is pertinent to mention here that large gatherings have been banned under Section 144 over COVID-19.

Nine people, including six women and three men, have been detained so far for breaking the curfew.

“The protest site would be cleaned up with the help of civic body,” he added. Those protesting against CAA in other parts of the city – Jaffrabad (northeast Delhi) and Turkman Gate (old Delhi) – were also removed this morning by police personnel.

It may be mentioned here that re-elected Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has ordered a shutdown in the national capital amid skyrocketing number of COVID-19 infections. “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” Kejriwal had tweeted recently calling for the shutdown.

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