NEW DELHI: Bilkis Bano, known as ‘Dadi of Shaheen Bagh’ who was recently named in TIME magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ along with PM Narendra Modi, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and others, on Tuesday urged the government to release the 24 young protesters arrested in connection with the February riots in northeast Delhi in which over 50 people had died.
“I request the Centre to release the 24 protesters. If they remain in jail, how will they study? The government should not play with the future of these students,” said the 82-year-old protester, who was the face of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest at the Shaheen Bagh.
Bano was speaking at a felicitation ceremony organised by Saheli, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, National Federation of Indian Women and others for her achievement.
“Most people think women only stay at home and like to confined to the kitchen. But these women can also fight for their rights and save democracy,” the octogenarian said.
Speaking on the ongoing farmers’ protest, Bano said: “They give us food. The government should provide them with subsidies. Suicide cases are increasing across the country... There is no future without farmers.” The ‘Dadi’, however, said first the nation has to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our protest against the CAA and the NRC will continue after this pandemic.” Former member of the Planning Commission Syeda Hameed, general secretary of NFIW Annie Raja, journalist Bhasha Singh, Delhi University’s Poonam Batra and PUCL’s Vertika Mani were also present at the event.