NEW DELHI: Hours after the Delhi Police cleared the sit-in site at Shaheen Bagh on Tuesday, anti- CAA protesters pledged to resume their “fight” against the contentious citizenship law after the COVID-19 crisis is over. Expressing their annoyance, volunteers associated with the Shaheen Bagh protest said the police intervention was inevitable.
“Our protest was an idea. The police have just removed the people physically from the location. The tents and posters and all the symbolic protest material that we had kept were removed. At a time when we were obeying and cooperating amid such a pandemic, the police took advant age and cl e a red everything,” said a woman protester, requesting anonymity. Another volunteer Asif Mujtaba pledged to continue the stir later.
“We will plan accordingly. The road blockade is just a part of the protest. We have not called off the protest yet,” he said.
A Twitter handle, being managed by a group of volunteers, declared that the movement would continue but its physical manifestation will evolve. “Although the sit-in by the women of Shaheen Bagh was the fundamental form of the protest, its essence, however, transcends its physical form. Shaheen Bagh is no longer just a sentiment space, but an idea, a warm sentiment, a symbol of indefatigable spirits and democratic force. The movement will go and only its physical manifestation will evolve,” read the statement posted on the social media platform.
After clearing protest sites at Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islamia, the police dismantled all art installations placed at two locations. Later, workers were seen painting the walls that had full of slogans and messages in the about three-month agitation. A senior police officer said all paraphernalia at protest sites near Okhla and Shaheen Bagh were removed but denied giving order to whitewash artwork on the walls. The Jamia Millia Islamia administration or the civic authorities must have initiated the cleanliness drive, the officer added.
On the other hand, the JMI administration denied its role in whitewashing the walls. “It was perhaps done following the orders of the police. The university has no role,” said a JMI official. Meanwhile, BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said removal of agitators was in the best interest of everyone in view of the coronavirus outbreak. Terming it a protest on a “baseless” issue, the BJP leader said, “The CAA doesn’t take anybody’s citizenship. It is about giving citizenship to minorities who are facing persecution in the neighbouring countries. It does not take away the citizenship of any Indian.” Similarly, the people have been misinformed about NPR from the start, he said. In these grave times, the mankind needs to stand together and survive the corona pandemic rather than protesting on “baseless” issues, Hussain added. With agency inputs