Standing in Solidarity: NCHRO Gen. Secretary, Prof P Koya Visits Shaheen Bagh
12 Feb 2020
It is a continuous stream here in Shaheen Bagh that has been going on unbroken, uninterrupted since December 15, 2019, braving the bone-chilling cold. People of all religions, castes, classes are all protesting together. When a government that is ideological and openly prejudiced, these protests for a democratic and humane India lilts hope. It’s about saving India. Those who think a mighty regime cannot be made to hear the people’s voice should note that Shaheen Bagh sets a different tone helpful in democratizing democracy.
It is heartening to see how disciplined they are to protest. The culture of violent Hindutva has come face-to-face with voices, acts and displays of communal unity playing out across the country. The protests underlines that we can only overcome the politics of division by banding together on what unites us. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government has pushed unconstitutional Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and now hopes to impose a National Register of Citizens (NRC). To counter that, the country has witnessed one of the most moving and extraordinary displays of solidarity in recent history.
The sight of the women-led occupation who defying patriarchal structures and norms addressing national issues, has captured the country’s imagination. The protest site at Shaheen Bagh is a small tent livelier with art, a range of speakers and performers cutting across generational lines. There is comedy, cartoon, poetry, memes, sloganeering, wall posters, protest graffiti and even a library. Lines from several poets have found a place on banners at the site. Nearby, another protester on a makeshift stage reads out the Preamble to Constitution, which declares the country a “secular, democratic republic.” Visibly there are no leaders; there are only the people. The ordinary public is leading the movement, and that the only banner they are protesting under is the Indian flag.
We witnessed and heard many stories of the excessive force, a handful of other unjustified forms of treatment in response to peaceful protests. We strongly condemn the militarization and violent means of law enforcement against the protestors in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka etc.
NCHRO stands in solidarity with people in Shaheen Bagh. We lend our unconditional support to all those across India fighting this unconstitutional law and join their call for its immediate withdrawal. We, the NCHRO, stand with you.