A group of protestors participating in a round-the-clock sit-in against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens at the clock tower in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, have temporarily called off their protest on Monday due to coronavirus, reported PTI. At least 80 Indian districts with confirmed coronavirus cases or deaths went into lockdown after the toll in the country rose to seven, and nearly 400 people were infected.
The protestors submitted a letter to the police commissioner, and said they were suspending their demonstration against the new citizenship law, the NRC – the exercise to identify undocumented migrants – and the National Population Register due to the outbreak.
The protestors said they would be back after the lockdown ends. The site was left intact with some women leaving their “dupattas” as a symbolic gesture to note that the protest had not ended, reported News18. This protest has been on for the past 66 days.
“We have decided to suspend the Ghantaghar protest as of now due to the pandemic of COVID-19 coming to India,” said Summaiya Rana, the daughter of poet Munawwar Rana. “CAA and NPR are internal issues of our country and we will protest against it once again after the situation gets normal. The main reason behind suspending this protest was the huge gathering which made the idea of ‘social distancing’ difficult, hence we took this decision.”
Meanwhile, another group of women protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens in Mumbai also said they were calling off their demonstration in view of the pandemic. “As part of our larger national responsibility, we have decided to suspend our andolan [protest] against the CAA-NRC-NPR in wake of the looming threat to our nation, our society,” the group said in a statement.
“Our struggle is against the central government on CAA, NRC and NPR, but we stand with the Govt in our common resolve to fight the lethal COVID-19 Virus. We will adhere to and take all due precautions as part of duty towards our nation,” the statement added.
The women have been protesting in Nagpada area of Mumbai Central – which has come to be known as “Mumbai Bagh”– a version of the protest being led by women at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh.
The Shaheen Bagh protest, which has been going on since December 15, has become the epicentre of protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens. The protest has been challenged in the Supreme Court by petitioners claiming that the demonstrators have blocked traffic. Amid rising concerns over coronavirus, Sunday reportedly saw only a handful of women congregated at the site.