New Delhi: As several parts of North-East Delhi continue to suffer in the aftermath of communal clashes in the national capital which left 37 dead, faces of the women of Uttar Pradesh, sitting in protest for 50 days in Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad and Aligarh against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), reflect both sadness and fear. However, despite living in constant fear of violence and in the knowledge that they could be removed forcibly at any minute, they have resolved to not retreat.
Sitting in solidarity with the families being killed and targeted, the protesters at Lucknow and Aligarh say that they have decided to intensify their agitation till the CAA is taken back by the BJP-led Central Government.
“They want to scare us, but they are highly mistaken. When women hit the roads then no government can scare them. We will not budge till our demands are met,” said Azra, who, along with few others, has been running a medical camp for the needy, at the protest site. “In the coming days, you will see more protesters joining us,” she adds.
Saher Fatima, a key organiser of the protest at Ujariyaon in the Gomti Nagar area of Lucknow, mumbles Rahat Indori's sher 'Lagegi aag, to aayenge Ghar kaii... Zadd mai'. “The impact of what happened in Delhi is clearly visible here in the protesters of Lucknow. There is no doubt that people here are living in fear as the riots from Delhi can flare up anywhere – be it Lucknow, Bihar or Bengal – but we will not move an inch until this government rolls back this draconian law (CAA)," she says.
The women protesters sound emotional when they say that Opposition political parties either played "safe" or surrendered to what ensued and that back-channel efforts to defuse the situation through Parliamentary processes were not made. “If opposition political parties did their duty honestly we would not have been on the road. We are fighting for our existence, no matter who supports us and who leaves," Sana Khan, another protester, tells NewsClick.
It should be noted that Uttar Pradesh witnessed large-scale violence across the state which left 23 people dead due to police firing. It happened after protests against the CAA and NRC turned violent between December 19 and 20.
Meanwhile, a high alert has been sounded in many cities of Uttar Pradesh including Lucknow, Aligarh and in parts of Western U.P. following the violence in Delhi.
The mood in Aligarh, at both the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and the old city (Shah Jamal and Uparkot area), is a mixture of anxiety and anger ever since large-scale rioting, arson and vandalism happened in Delhi. The protesters expressed fears over the communal violence, arguing that vacating the anti-CAA/NRC protest will make things even worse.
“What has happened over the past three days is shameful. Delhi is the capital and the government became a mute spectator,” says Ameena, a protester at the Shah Jamal area of Aligarh. “The protest at Shaheen Bagh and in several parts of Delhi has been going on for the past 73 days. If someone is protesting peacefully how can they be attacked? It is our right to protest. How can Kapil Mishra call for violence? Why is he not held accountable or arrested?” she asks.
“From NRC to these riots, it is clear that this government hates Muslims,” says Arshi Begum. “We have no hope. We saw 23 people die across the state. They were only Muslims and daily -wagers and we are still here, resisting for our identity and existence."
Read Also: Who Were 23 People Killed in UP During Anti-CAA-NRC Protests?