Call for nationwide protests on 16th December against unconstitutional CAA-NPR-NRC

bilkis devaki shaheenbagh

16th Dec 2021 will mark two years since the historic Shaheen Bagh movement for equal citizenship and safeguarding the fundamental ethos of our constitution. In response to brutal state violence unleashed on protesting students of Jamia Milia Islamia in Delhi on the fateful night of 15th Dec’19, what emerged in Shaheen Bagh was a powerful, organic democratic struggle led by Muslim women that posed a strong challenge to the divisive ideology of the ruling regime. It inspired similar 24*7 sit-in protests in Muslim neighbourhoods across the country, alongwith participation of students and citizens across communities. The movement against CAA-NPR-NRC was built on the vision of an India based on principles of equality, love and communal harmony — an imagination that stands in complete opposition to Hindutva’s ideology.

Many who participated in this movement continue to face various forms of harassment and repression by the State, many continue to be behind bars facing a harsh and unjust incarceration under UAPA, Arms Act etc for standing up for justice and freedom. In a most macabre twist, the Delhi police built a fabricated narrative of the peaceful protests being a ‘conspiracy’ site for planning ‘anti-India’ violence; framing the protestors, a majority of whom were from the Muslim community, as ‘rioters’ and ‘terrorists’ responsible for orchestrating the Delhi ‘riots’. Another painful irony is members of the Muslim community being held responsible for the violence against themselves, instead of it being recognised as a planned and targetted attack by Hindutva forces with full collusion of State-police forces. The Delhi High Court judgment in June, 2021 granting bail to 3 students & anti-CAA protestors, infact pointed out that the right to democratic protest cannot be criminalized by invoking UAPA.

We cannot and will not forget the price people have paid to demand rights enshrined to each citizen by the Constitution. The equally historic farmer’s resistance against corporatisation of agriculture, forcing the Centre to repeal the 3 farm laws has inspired us over the last year, and we gain strength from it to continue our struggles against injustice and demand:

• the repeal of CAA-NPR-NRC & UAPA
• the immediate and unconditional release of all protestors
• withdrawal of all false cases against protestors
• justice and rehabilitation for actual victims of the violence in Delhi
• action against the BJP politicians and RSS workers responsible for hate crimes.

The Shaheen Bagh movement never ended, it continues to inspire us in our ongoing struggles to defend democratic rights and assert equal citizenship. On its 2nd anniversary, let us remember this powerful struggle. Let us come together to organise peaceful protests and solidarity actions in various states across the country on 16th Dec ’21. Our protests could be big or small taking into consideration the emerging covid situation in different places, but let us try and occupy public space to raise these demands once again.

We (national and autonomous women’s organisations and student’s groups) are sharing some of our contacts below. Please do share info about your plans from wherever you are or connect to join the planning process in any of the cities that are already doing so!

Anuradha (Saheli)
Annie (NFIW)
Hasina (Bebaak Collective)

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