The demonstration against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which is being organised on Tannery Road and modelled on the lines of Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh protest, has intensified. More civil society members and people from the Muslim community have joined the stir following Monday’s reports of police attacking students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi.
Dubbed Bengaluru Bilal Bagh and Bengaluru Bagh, the protest has seen a crowd of a few hundreds from the time it started on February 8. But on Tuesday night, the numbers swelled to almost 1,500 after several students gathered there in solidarity with their Jamia counterparts.
Adrian, 21, said the Jamia incident made everyone emotional. “Protesters were left teary-eyed,” he added.
Manogna, 19, a student said that the women-led and student-supported movement is opening doors to people who were unaware of what is happening in the country. “There has been a shift in attitude – from people not caring about what doesn’t affect them, to standing up for bigger issues now,” she said. Manogna added that it’s more important now than ever for citizens to stand for one another. “Not just students, every citizen needs to come out now,” she added. Syed Imran, one of the volunteers, said they are getting barely four hours of sleep daily, but there will be no stopping them.
Samreen Banu, a homemaker and resident of Fraser Town said, she had taken part in a protest at Town Hall, but the ‘Bengaluru Bagh’ sit-in means a lot more. “When you enter the space, you get to know that it’s all about women, young students and people who are passionate about a united India. People are discussing, eating and even napping here. It’s like a mini-India, the real India,” she said.
‘Delhi result reflects people’s priorities’
When asked if the Delhi election result made the protesters optimistic, Banu said it reflected people’s priorities. “Delhiites sent the message that they want civic amenities and comfortable life. Not hate,” she said. Saqib Idrees, another student protester said the movement has also given them the courage to do what is right and bring into practice the Gandhian values that they had only read about.