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Can’t risk country falling into chaos: Protester

A mother with her 5-month-old joins CAA protest in Park Circus

By Snehal Sengupta in Calcutta

  • Published 21.01.20, 2:07 AM
  • Updated 21.01.20, 12:34 PM
Chain of protest: Students form a human chain to protest the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register at the Park Circus seven-point crossing on Monday, January 21, 2020.
Chain of protest: Students form a human chain to protest the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register at the Park Circus seven-point crossing on Monday, January 21, 2020. Picture by Gautam Bose

A mother who had been itching to join the protest at Park Circus Maidan made it to the ground cradling her newborn on Monday.

Ishrat Jahan, 33, walked in with her five-month-old daughter, Zainab, wrapped in a shawl in the evening.

Ishrat said she had been longing to be part of the ongoing protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register.

But her family had told her that she needed to stay at home and look after her baby, she said.

"I had to be here as we the people cannot risk the country falling into a state of chaos. I told my husband that it was important for me to be at Park Circus, and I am headed there. He dropped me here," Ishrat, who lives in Beniapukur, said.

She said she had rarely stepped out of her home in the past few months because of Zainab but she wanted to show her solidarity with the protesting women at Park Circus Maidan.

As Ishrat sat down with the women, one of them handed her a poster against the CAA, which she started waving.

Asmat Jamil, one of the women protesters, said they had given postcards on Monday to everyone gathered on the ground, urging them to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"We will mail these postcards to the Prime Minister's office in New Delhi the first thing on Tuesday," Asmat, who suffers from nephritis and had a kidney transplant a few years ago, said.

The protest by a group of women started on January 7.

Men, women and children kept coming throughout Monday. In the afternoon, several people formed a human chain at the Park Circus seven-point crossing to protest the new citizenship regime.

Later, they entered the ground and joined the women in shouting slogans against the CAA-NRC-NPR.

Zarka Saeed, a Class XI student, came with her father, Syed Alamgir.

The two headed straight to a place where posters were being written.

"I come here every day after my classes get over to make posters. We then distribute them among protesters," Zarka said as she put the finishing touches to her poster, "Save human life. Not cows!" Her father said he came with her daughter every day because staying back home was not an option.

"Our forefathers... (and) we have been born here in this country. We will not let this act alienate us in our own motherland," he said.

Saad Abdullah, a tailor who has been staying night and day with the women since Day 1, said this fight was not only for identity but also for existence.

"I have not earned a single rupee as I am not going to the workshop. My family members are having trouble to make ends meet daily. But I have told them less food at our own home is better than spending nights at detention camps," he said while holding the postcard on which he had written a message for the Prime Minister.

As evening set in and the lights on the ground came on, cries of "Agar tum na doge azaadi, toh chheen ke lenge azaadi (If you don't give us freedom, we will snatch it from you)" rang in the air.

By then many professionals and students had landed up after work or classes.

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