Women sit on wooden benches at the Shaheen Bagh protest site | Photo by special arrangement
Women sit on wooden benches at the Shaheen Bagh protest site | Photo by special arrangement
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New Delhi: Protestors at Shaheen Bagh continue to refuse to evacuate the site even as concerns of their vulnerability to the coronavirus pandemic grow. However, organisers say they have come up with “innovative measures to practice precaution”.

“At the entrance of the sit-in, there are volunteers who have been made to stand with sanitisers to individually sanitise each protester,” Mohammad Khushnoor, a doctor at a medical camp set up at the site told ThePrint.

“Anyone with any flu symptoms — cold, cough or fever — is being asked to leave. In fact, we are giving them masks and asking them to go to government hospitals which are testing for coronavirus,” Dr Khushnoor added.

The organisers have also arranged wide wooden benches at the protest site which accommodates three to four women. The benches have been placed one meter apart, an organiser told ThePrint.

Organisers arrange wide wooden benches for protesters to sit on | Photo by special arrangement
Organisers arrange wide wooden benches for protesters to sit on | Photo by special arrangement

“We are also actively discouraging older women and children from coming to the protest site. We have been announcing that anyone who isn’t feeling well shouldn’t be at the protest,” Khurshid Alam, one of the organisers told ThePrint.

Since mid-December, when the protest began, women sat on the ground demanding a rollback of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and talks with the government. Their 24X7 protest continued through the worst of the winter’s nights, the rain, and even last month’s communal riots in Northeast Delhi. At any given time, at least 150 people would be present, raising slogans of ‘azaadi‘ (freedom), discussing the issue of CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), or simply sitting in solidarity.


Also read: There’s fear, grief and dejection after Delhi riots but Shaheen Bagh resolves to protest on


A change, but not enough

The new measures to thin the crowd come after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that any gathering of over 50 people will not be allowed in the national capital, which has seen one coronavirus fatality. There are currently 10 active cases of infection in Delhi; two cases recovered in the past week.

However, despite the new arrangement, the Shaheen Bagh protest site typically has more than 50 people at any given time.

“There is a significant reduction in how many protesters are being accommodated at the site. There are around 100 protesters in total,” said Alam.

The medical camp volunteers have also been making announcements about how to practice precaution.

“The protesters are being asked to wash all their clothing in hot water when they return home at the end of every day,” Dr. Khushnoor said.

On Tuesday, police officials met with some of the protestors to try and convince them to evacuate the site. But their efforts failed.

“They met some of the women at the barricades, but the women were persistent that if the police has to make any announcements, or negotiate with the people, they must come to the stage and talk,” Alam said.

Several public figures have also called for the Shaheen Bagh protest to end in the wake of the pandemic.

While the global number of cases has touched nearly 2 lakh infections, the number of active cases in India rose to 147 Wednesday. At least three people have died, including the Delhi fatality, while 14 people have recovered. In the past 10 days, at least one new case a day has been reported on average.


Also read: Army reports first coronavirus case, cancels training and events to prevent outbreak


 

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29 Comments Share Your Views

29 COMMENTS

  1. It is now high time that these protesters need forcible eviction, even if they are not bothered about their lives they can not hold millions of Indians for ride. When entire globe is talking and implementing isolation the only solution, these fools believe in precautionary measure. Govt either must evacuate, or push them to such Barron piece of isolated land to suffer.
    themselves.

  2. As a Muslim I do not face discrimination in India including under Modi’s past 6 years. These handful of protesters ill informed and stood up by vested interest in politics and media section give the entire community a bad name. Gathering now to protest when there is a global epidemic is very selfish and unsafe. It clearly shows how easy it is to mislead these people. If they want to get infected that’s fine, why transmit through their stupid actions?

  3. This is not protest against CAA or NPR, it is against Modi Government, it is against Tin Tallak, It is against 370 , it is in support of Muslim brotherhood, anywhere in the world anything happens to Muslim they protest in India to show solidarity with Muslims world , (This is the message to illegal immigrant that don’t worry we Muslims of India are with you) as Islam/Holy book teaches Boundaries are man made , and Muslim must follow Holy book that’s all, who ever want to understand or draw meaning can do accordingly .

    I will give you one example in our city few years back railway station was bomb blast and in protest of Bomb blast entire city was closed indigenous but none of the Muslim shop or Moholla was closed , this is the solidarity they have , close down was not against any community, but they refuse to close down, and in close down non of the political party was involve, it was completely indigenous

  4. CAA NPR NRC is a combined law…..We seen what happened in Assam…..any knowledgeable person will not accept this draconian dividing law… it could affect sc st bc mbc obc and minorities….totally this law is for brahmins to create a nation for them to evict indigenous people of this nation…

  5. I am thinking let this protest go to next year. Let them go for indefinite period. There are people who want to support with lunch /dinner chai pani to these protesters can have their pockets drained .

  6. These people gatherings are stupid one.they had been living here before independence and had no trust….better if they had no faith on secularism than could go Islamic country and die or killed by terrorist.no place in Hindustan.

  7. I am against the CAA as the Act pointedly excludes Muslim refugees . The message is very clear. “We the present Government of India are against Muslims” . I am for the Shaheen Bagh protests. Although there is danger in meeting at one place as the protesters do, careful screening can prevent the spread. I too do not have any faith in the Supreme Court. In the Ramjanma boomi case, they took the land that once held a Mosque and deliberately handed it over to the same criminals who destroyed the Mosque. The Judge who presided over the that case is now nominated for the Rajya Sabha by the BJP. He was earlier accused of molesting a young woman in his employ and cleared of that crime by a partisan bench of judges. Who can then have faith in such a court?

    • Sir… the govt is against which muslim, the ones they are bringing back from different corona hit countries ?? Do you know why they are being brought back because they are Indian citizen. You are fighting for muslim people of neighbouring muslim states to be given Indian citizenship……why were they carved out of India then ? There are proper legal ways to get citizenship any one can apply for, open for muslims of those countries too. But not on the ground of religious persecution.

  8. Protestors have no faith on Supreme Court. Matter is subjudice in SC, but they are adamant. If SC upheld the CAA, they will continue dharna with active support from Mahagathbandhan. Accordingly they have no faith in constitution of India. They want PM & HM to come to them. What an arrogance? Amazingly, none of protestors read CAA, most of them are illiterate. They are not Indian, but infiltrators. But they have kept all documents, Voter ID, aadhar, BPL card, ration card, even few of them have passport. Hell with them.

  9. This people should be out of the country eve. If they have papers. Nonsense. They are irresponsible, leave citizen they are not even good human being. I feel like slapping them. These people are religious right? How come they are efff cruel to others. If u wish to die go and suicide why you are bringing sadness to others. Nonsense people.

  10. They can continue their protests until the cows come home… It’s not going to change the Govt’s resolve to ensure illegal Intruders are sent out

  11. After the success of “won’t show papers” , it’s now turn of “won’t wash hands and won’t avoid contact”. If anybody gets infected by C virus, its the wish of Allah. Also nothing wrong to say that it’s written in the book from the sky. It’s futile to argue with Islamists.

    • Don’t expect common sense from the believers in the book from the sky. People with common sense wont protest against CAA.

  12. Even 50 people is a large gathering and dangerous in the times of COVID. Shaheen Bagh protestors should in the name of social responsibility call off the protest meetings. They can use social media instead to voice their views instead. Hopefully some sense of self preservation will make them think again about the protests.

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