New Delhi: Protesters at Shaheen Bagh in the capital are continuing with their demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act in symbolic fashion Sunday, as the country shuts down for a 14-hour ‘janata curfew’ to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The protesters had originally announced that they would continue as usual on the day of the curfew called by PM Narendra Modi in a TV broadcast Thursday. However, as the appointed hour of 7am approached Sunday, protesters vacated the site, instead laying out their slippers and shoes on the wide benches to mark their symbolic presence.
“We aren’t ending the protest, come what may. But we are mindful of the danger of the coronavirus. So, we adopted this fashion of protest for the day,” Khurshid Alam, one of the organisers of the protest, told ThePrint.
Alam added that women over 60 and children had already been disallowed from the site, with no protester allowed to sit-in for more than four hours.
“Today, only five women will be protesting at a time,” said another organiser, Ritu Kaushik, adding that the normal protest will resume after the janata curfew ends at 9pm.
Fire scare after petrol bomb hurled
The morning of the curfew was also marked by a fire scare at the Shaheen Bagh protest site, as a petrol bomb was allegedly thrown near one of the protest barricades.
Delhi: Protesters at Shaheen Bagh allege that a petrol bomb was hurled nearby the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest site today pic.twitter.com/tHVzQfmKii
— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2020
“We don’t know who it was. Someone on a bike came with some petrol and did this. But locals immediately controlled the situation and doused the fire,” Kaushik said, adding that the unknown assailant fled the scene.
No injuries are reported to have taken place.