Khan sat on the staircase of Jama Masjid with her four-year-old daughter. Each held a candle. Khan said, “The last time I remember being outside like this was during demonetisation. Even at that time, I had to stand in line with my then one-year-old daughter. The same is happening today. I have to protest with my little one today against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.”
Khan was not the only mother present at Jama Masjid on Wednesday evening. She was part of hundreds of people from across Delhi, mainly the Old Delhi area, out to protest the new citizenship law. Women and children were an integral part of this protest.
Ameer Mirza, a Class 10 student, told Newslaundry: “I have come here today against CAA and NRC because it undermines the constitutional right to equality granted to everyone.”
Mirza was accompanied by his classmate, Anil Haseeb. “I come here often to offer namaz,” Haseeb said. He added, “The Shahi Imam’s support for the CAA and NRC is out of fear of the government” — seemingly a reference to a statement by Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam, supporting the citizenship law.
Ruchika Raina, a student of Indraprastha University, was also part of the protest. “I’m here today against CAA,” she said. “Even if declared constitutional by the Supreme Court, we all know it is wrong. It is against the diverse culture, religious practices and the history of our country.”
Naz Parveen, a Jamia school teacher who lives in Old Delhi, said she was there as a citizen, not a Jamia teacher. “If each person stays at home deliberating whether or not their presence will make a difference, this would not have been such a huge gathering, especially of women and kids, despite this rain,” she pointed out.
Shazia, a resident of Old Delhi, said, “I have been living here since I was born. For the first time, I have come out like this on the roads at odd hours to protest. The government is pressuring us to do this.”
Sharif Hasan, an itr (perfume) vendor in Old Delhi, shut his shop to join the protest. He said he was happy to see such a huge presence of women in the gathering. “I’m happy to see so many women out here today. Even in Shaheen Bagh, I was in tears to hear that women are spending their nights outside, on the roads, in this cold. It’s high time we all come together. If we all come together and fight, inshallah, something good will come out of it.”