On March 14, women’s groups and individuals brought out a statement condemning the State’s move to shame women protesters and pin the blame on the anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests—which were mostly led by women—for the communal riots that happened in North East Delhi in the last week of February.
The statement notes that even as the victims of the communal violence are struggling to recover, with hundreds of people from both Hindu and Muslim still lodged in relief camps, “the State, the State, a section of the media, and vested interests are creating even more hate”.
Signed by eminent women activists and professors including Uma Chakravarti, Kamla Bhasin, Annie Raja, Mariam Dhawale, Farah Naqvi, among others, the statement says that, “Instead of taking action against an erring police force, and against those who openly instigated and perpetrated this violence, we find them (the State) trying to pin the blame on the women for protesting peacefully. What we are witnessing is a concerted misinformation campaign that criminalises the protestors, spins conspiracy theories and targets all those who supported the protests. Anyone who has been to these protests will know how morally low this is.”
Women and queer groups including All India Democratic Women’s Association, Democratic Teacher’s Front, Hasratein – a queer group, National Federation of Indian Women and others are among the signatories.
Extending their solidarity to the people who are waging a united struggle against the three-pronged attack of Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens, the statement said, “We are proud that Muslim women led these protests, in the best tradition of our freedom struggle, and proud that we joined this struggle with them, in full measure as Indians – as students, women’s rights activists and queer groups, people’s movements, farmers and workers collectives, and as ordinary citizens; to fight for justice, harmony and peace for all.”
They also demanded that “action be taken against those who have conducted systematic hate campaigns and the withdrawal of false cases against protesters exercising their democratic rights.” They further demand that “the State efforts be expedited to provide time bound relief and compensation to families of all who lost lives in the Delhi violence, and full rehabilitation to those displaced.”
The full statement is given below.
STATEMENT BY WOMEN*S GROUPS & INDIVIDUALS
*STOP THE SHAMEFUL ATTEMPT TO PIN BLAME FOR*
*THE TERRIBLE VIOLENCE IN DELHI ON*
*WOMEN AND ALL THE PEACEFUL PROTESTORS AGAINST NPR-CAA-NRC.*
*HELP CITIZENS SEEK JUSTICE.*
*TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE REAL PERPETRATORS.*
*HELP CITIZENS COME TOGETHER AGAIN.*
*HELP HEAL THIS COUNTRY.*
*Delhi struggles to recover from the terrible violence in the north east* which hit some of the poorest people in our country - tailors, scrap dealers, carpenters, and daily wagers. Scared and displaced Muslims, who were the primary target of this hate-attack, are still in relief camps, holding on to their children and their dignity despite this devastation. Hindu families who lost homes and properties are struggling to come to terms with this nightmare as well. Both communities bear the sorrow of lives and livelihoods lost in this senseless violence. We stand with each of them.
*This is a moment when we need our governments to give us justice, reassurance and relief.* But what we see instead is that the State, a section of the media, and vested interests creating even more hate. Instead of taking action against an erring police force, and against those who openly instigated and perpetrated this violence, we find them trying to pin the blame on the women for protesting peacefully. What we are witnessing is a concerted misinformation campaign that criminalises the protestors, spins conspiracy theories and targets all those who supported the protests. Anyone who has been to these protests will know how morally low this is.
*These protests brought together all the colours of our country.* We are proud that Muslim women led these protests, in the best tradition of our freedom struggle, and proud that we joined this struggle with them, in full measure as Indians – as students, women’s rights activists and queer groups, people’s movements, farmers and workers collectives, and as ordinary citizens; to fight for justice, harmony and peace for all. Clearly, something resonated in the soul of India, which is why in over 300 places, women sat and many still sit on our streets to be heard, to be visible as democratic citizens. This is surely what women’s empowerment is all about. This is what India must celebrate and stand behind.
*Today, the rainbow that is India is being targeted.* There is intimidation, FIRs based on falsehoods, threat of arrest against the protestors and those who stood with the protests. This politics of intimidation threatens all women, it threatens each citizen, and it must end. Now.
*This vicious campaign against citizens of a free democratic country and our collective right to protest must stop immediately.*
*We say, across identities of religion, caste, class, gender, sexuality and ability that we oppose the proposed National Population Register (NPR), Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).* We stand by the protestors and the right to protest. And we shall defend that right.
*We demand that:*
• *ACTION BE TAKEN* against those who have conducted systematic hate campaigns, spread falsehood, instigated and perpetrated the violence.
• *FALSE CASES BE WITHDRAWN* against protestors exercising their democratic rights.
• The Union government *WITHDRAW NPR-CAA-NRC*, and initiate dialogue with the protesting women without any further delay.
• The Delhi government *DELINK the NPR from the Census.*
• *STATE EFFORTS BE EXPEDITED* to provide time bound relief and compensation to families of all who lost lives in the Delhi violence, and full rehabilitation to those displaced.
*WE REITERATE OUR COMMITMENT to the values of peace and communal amity even as we continue our struggle*
● FOR the preservation of constitutional values
● AGAINST NPR-CAA-NRC
● FOR de-linking of the Census and NPR
● FOR the protection of the democratic rights of the people of India to live, speak, believe, work, protest without fear.
*We stand united.*
1. Devaki Jain, Economist, New Delhi.
2. Uma Chakravarti, New Delhi.
3. Tanika Sarkar, New Delhi.
4. Mary E John, New Delhi.
5. Kamla Bhasin, Feminist Activist, New Delhi.
6. Farah Naqvi, New Delhi.
7. Annie Raja, NFIW.
8. Mariam Dhawale, AIDWA, New Delhi.
9. Roshmi Goswami, Feminist Human Rights Activist.
10. Navsharan Singh, Karwan-e-Mohabbat.
11. Ajita Rao, Dalit Feminist, New Delhi.
12. Meera Sanghamitra, National Alliance of People’s Movements
13. Bittu K, Activist, New Delhi.
14. Maya Krishna Rao, Theatre Artist, New Delhi.
15. Abha Bhaiya, Activist, New Delhi.
16. Pratiksha Baxi, Sociologist, New Delhi.
17. Ayesha Kidwai, Professor, JNU, New Delhi.
18. Freny Manecksha, Independent Journalist, Mumbai.
19. Jayati Ghosh, New Delhi
20. Pamela Philipose, New Delhi.
21. Kavita Srivastava
22. Amrita Johri, New Delhi.
23. Amutha Jayadeep, Joint Secretary, JNUSU, New Delhi.
24. Anamika Mishra, Karwan e Mohabbat
25. Anjali Bharadwaj, New Delhi.
26. Anomita Sen, New Delhi.
27. Anubhuti Sharma, Research Scholar, New Delhi.
28. Anuradha Banerji, Researcher, New Delhi.
29. Apurba Kumar Baruah, President Sustha Samaj Bikash Chakra and Academic Advisor, Assam School of Journalism, Guwahati.
30. Arpita Jaya, Quill Foundation, New Delhi.
31. Ashima Roy Chowdhury, Saheli, New Delhi.
32. Bratati Pande, Retired Teacher, I.P. College, New Delhi.
33. Cheryl D’Souza, Advocate.
34. Chhaya Basu, Karwan e Mohabbat
35. Darshana Mitra, Legal Researcher.
36. Deepa V, Feminist Health Activist, New Delhi
38. Dev Desai, Social Activist, ANHAD, Gujarat.
39. Devika Singh.
40. Dipa Sinha
41. Ditilekha, New Delhi.
42. Dyuti, New Delhi.
43. Esther M., Public Health Researcher.
44. Faruque ul Islam, Karwan e Mohabbat.
45. Gargi Mishra, Public Health Researcher.
46. Gitanjali Prasad, Legal Researcher
47. Guneet Kaur, IHRL, Researcher, Lawyer.
48. Hena Faqurudheen, Mental Health Professional, New Delhi.
49. Inayat Singh Kakar, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan.
50. Indira Unninayar, Advocate Supreme Court and Delhi High Court, New Delhi.
51. Jaya Sharma, Activist, New Delhi.
52. Jeevika S, Lawyer, New Delhi.
53. Johanna Lokhande
54. Khadija Faruqui, Human Rights Activist.
55. Madhur Bharatiya, Advocate, Delhi.
56. Maheen Mirza, Film Maker, Bhopal.
57. Mamata, Activist, Delhi.
58. Manasi Pingle, Bangalore.
59. Meenal Manolika, New Delhi.
60. Meghna Mehra, Founder, All India Queer Association.
61. Minakshi Singh, Unity of Christ.
62. Mohd. Arif, Karwan e Mohabbat.
63. Mushtaque Ali Shaikh, Cultural Activist, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
64. Nandini Rao Akkaraju, New Delhi.
65. Nandita Narain, Delhi University.
66. Nidhi Agrawal, Activist, New Delhi.
67. Nikita Agrawal, Advocate, New Delhi.
68. Nikita Sonavane, Lawyer and Activist, Bhopal.
69. Nisha Biswas, Scientist and Activist, Kolkata.
70. Nitika Khaitan, PUDR.
71. Padmaja Shaw, Retired Professor, Osmania University, Hyderabad.
72. Poonam Kaushik, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, New Delhi.
73. Prabha, New Delhi.
74. Priya Pillai, Environmental Activist, New Delhi.
75. Priyanka Kumari, Social Worker.
76. Pyoli, WSS.
77. Radhika Chitkara, Assistant Professor, JGLS, Sonipat.
78. Radhika Menon
79. Rakshi Rath, Psychologist.
80. Rinchin, Activist, Chattisgarh.
81. Rituparna Borah, Activist, New Delhi.
82. Roop Rekha Verma, Saajhi Duniya, Lucknow.
83. Rushda, Working President, NFIW Delhi.
84. Sadhna Arya, Delhi University, New Delhi.
85. Sarojini N, New Delhi
86. Satnam Kaur, Saheli, New Delhi.
87. Satyaveer Aman Sathi
88. Savita Sharma, feminist activist, New Delhi.
89. Shambhavi Saxena, Writer, New Delhi.
90. Shipra Nigam, Research Scholar, New Delhi.
91. Shivangi Bhasin, Student, New Delhi.
92. Shomona Khanna, Advocate, New Delhi.
93. Shradha Lama, Student, New Delhi.
94. Shruti Iyer, Student, University of Oxford.
95. Sneha Makkad, Public Health Activist and Researcher
96. Snehal Shah, New Delhi
97. Soma Kp, Gender and Policy Researcher, New Delhi.
98. Sumita Hazarika, Advocate, New Delhi.
99. Suroor Mander, Advocate, New Delhi.
100. Sushama Ramswami, Indian Christian Women’s Movement, New Delhi.
101. Susheela, Public Health Researcher.
102. Tani Bhargava, New Delhi.
103. Tanima, New Delhi
104. Urvashi, Nirantar, New Delhi.
105. Vani Subramanian, Film Maker Delhi.
106. Vidya Dinkar, INSAF.
1. Saheli Women’s Resource Centre
2. All India Democratic Women’s Association
3. Centre for Struggling Women
4. Democratic Teacher’s Front
5. Hasratein – a queer group
6. Indian Christian Women’s Movement, New Delhi
7. National Federation of Indian Women
8. One Billion Rising
9. Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan
10. Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression