LUCKNOW: The women protestors who had been staging a round-the-clock sit-in at the historic clock tower against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register for Citizens (NRC) have vacated the venue and suspended their dharna on Monday after a lockdown was announced in Lucknow in view of the coronavirus scare.
The 66-day-old protest was suspended early on Monday morning and the protesters went back to their houses. However, the protesters left some of their belongings and the platform at the venue to stress that the protest had been called off only temporarily and they would return after the situation normalised.
The women protesters have submitted a letter to the police commissioner saying they were suspending their 66-day-long protest against the CAA, the proposed nationwide NRC and the National Population Register (NPR) temporarily in view of the outbreak. Interacting with media persons, Summaiya Rana, one of the organisers of the protests, confirmed that it was only a temporary suspension of the protest owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"CAA and NPR are internal issues of our country and we will protest against it once again after the situation gets normal. The main reason behind suspending this protest was the huge gathering which made difficult the idea of ‘social distancing’, hence we took this decision," she said.
Rana said the protesters had already been in talks with Lucknow Police Commissioner Sujit Pandey who had also suggested the suspension of the protest for a few days. They added that they would be back after the lockdown enforced by the government ends.
The Ghantaghar protest which started on the lines of Shaheen Bagh had been going on for the last 66 days. The protest against CAA and NRC was initially started by a handful of women and eventually swelled as thousands turned up along with their children in solidarity.
Several FIRs were also lodged against the protesting women but that did not deter them. The Ghantaghar protest garnered support from different sections of the society -- Bollywood actors, lawyers, politicians and even religious leaders welcomed the agitation.
Meanwhile, similar protests going on in other districts under lockdown including Prayagraj, Moradabad and Azamgarh are continuing despite several appeals by Muslim clerics and religious leaders as well as criminal proceedings.