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The Shaheen Bagh protest against the Narendra Modi government’s Citizenship Amendment Act has entered its third month. Supreme Court-appointed mediators met protesters this week and may meet them again at a different location. The Supreme Court also upheld the right to protest, but expressed concern over the sit-in causing public inconvenience.

ThePrint asks: Do Shaheen Bagh protesters run risk of waning interest or should stay put for CAA endgame?


Shaheen Bagh is now the name of an aspiration for equality, which can never be crushed or defamed

Umar Khalid
Activist and former JNU student 

The protest at Shaheen Bagh is not beholden to media. A lot of people did not even pay attention to Shaheen Bagh for the first 15-20 days. But since this movement began in mid-December 2019, the women of Shaheen Bagh are convinced about what they are doing. They know that what they are fighting against – the infamous ‘chronology’ – impacts their very existence.

Despite being repeatedly defamed by a section of the media and BJP leaders leading to threats of violence, especially after the shooting episode, the Shaheen Bagh protesters have brazen it out. I strongly believe that they should continue and they will.

The inconvenience caused by the protests is exaggerated. Delhi Police has barricaded more roads than those blocked by protesters. Every protest causes some inconvenience. When people came out on the streets to fight for our independence, it must have caused some inconvenience too. Does that mean M.K. Gandhi and other freedom fighters were wrong in giving a call for civil disobedience? And what about the inconvenience faced by the protesters? They have been out on the streets the entire winter. Don’t their lives matter?

The protesters should fight till the end because now there’s not just one Shaheen Bagh in India; there are hundreds more in different cities. Shaheen Bagh is now the name of an aspiration for equality, which can never be crushed or defamed.


Modi govt can withstand Shaheen Bagh for as long as it goes. Only the political consequences are debatable

Shankar SharanShankar Sharan
Hindi columnist & professor of political science, NCERT

Shaheen Bagh protesters have already won to a great extent. They have become an international focal point for an unjust cause, shown the ruling executive and judicial class as unfit at engaging the minority community, and bolstered the confidence of Muslim leaders. Thus, they have added a new page in India’s Muslim politics.

How it moves forward is an open question. It’s a tug of war like situation with a lot of uncertainty because the party in power behaves erratically on Hindu-Muslim issues. Moreover, Muslim activists also act very differently, but they have an identical objective. So, any miscalculation could bring opposite results. In such circumstances, predicting the endgame is hazardous.

As things stand, the government can withstand the protest for as long as it goes because the CAA is constitutional. Only the political consequences of such a protracted protest are debatable. The anti-CAA protest created more troubles for the common people than it did for the intended political group. The leaders may benefit in the long run. The same cannot be said about Hindu-Muslim relations, something the protesters and their handlers hardly care about.


Don’t think Modi govt will budge an inch. It would be wise for protesters to give their campaign a new shape 

Shahid Siddiqui
Political commentator 

The purpose of Shaheen Bagh protests and other such demonstrations all over India has been served. They wanted to highlight the issues concerning CAA-NRC and the apprehensions of Muslims regarding these two moves by the Modi government. The protesters have succeeded in drawing the attention of the nation as well as that of the world.

However, I don’t think the Modi government will budge an inch. So, it would be wise for protesters to give their campaign a new shape so that it can go on without causing inconvenience to people. However, it does seem that the road blockage is more a making of Delhi Police.

If people want the CAA to be withdrawn, a larger mass movement will be required, because currently protests are being organised mostly in Muslim-dominated areas. And this is giving the BJP and other parties an opportunity to paint these protests with a communal colour. We have to avoid giving it any sectarian colour because it is a secular movement. The anti-CAA protests should evolve into a larger movement supported by the opposition.

The Shaheen Bagh movement should be reinvented and more organised. It has so far been a leader-less movement that, after a while, can also turn into a radar-less movement.


Modi govt’s resolve to not dilute the law has certainly broken the hopes and zeal of Shaheen Bagh protesters

Sangit Ragi, DU professor | TwitterSangit Ragi
Professor of political science, Delhi University

The protesters claim that they want to save the Constitution by protesting against the discriminatory nature of the Citizenship Amendment Act. But it is still predominantly a Muslim protest intended to secure the stay of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afghan infiltrators who have changed the religious demographic profiles of several Indian states.

The anti-CAA protesters fear that the identification of the Muslim infiltrators and their subsequent deregistration from the national electoral roll would reduce the leverage of the Muslim population in these states. Protesters used the rumours of denationalisation of Muslims to bring people on to the streets.

The place, people, slogans and presence of Left-leaning organisations at Shaheen Bagh speak loud and clear that the protests are manufactured at best to provoke Muslim masses against the Modi government. They had thought that the chain of protests would force the government to blink. But they failed to anticipate the resolve of the Modi government, which made it clear that it won’t dilute the law under any pressure and refused to approach the protesters.

This has certainly broken the initial hopes and zeal of the protesters, which is evident from the dwindling presence of people at protest sites. The slogans have also dissuaded political parties from coming out in full support of the protesters.


Shaheen Bagh sit-in must continue and be transformed into a national movement for India’s political awakening

Hilal Ahmed
Associate Professor, CSDS

The Shaheen Bagh sit-in should not merely be seen as a protest against a particular law, in this case, the CAA. It has become a movement, which raises three most fundamental commitments associated with our political existence as citizens of India.

It underlines the everyday life of the Indian Constitution as a living document; it illustrates the popular meanings of the often-quoted phrase — unity in diversity; and finally, it reclaims the India-specific form of nationalism.

These political expressions have posed serious challenges for the entire political class. The so-called champions of Hindutva-driven nationalism find it very difficult to deal with it; while other political parties do not know how to appropriate it.

This people-centric uniqueness of Shaheen Bagh sit-in transforms it into a symbol of those grassroots non-party political movements, which are always ignored by mainstream media.

The Supreme Court, it appears, has recognised this political symbolism of the Shaheen Bagh movement. That may be the reason why the right to protest and peaceful negotiation are emphasised by the court.

This wider acceptability of the Shaheen Bagh movement must pave the way for its gradual transformation into a national movement for political awakening. This can only be done if the Shaheen Bagh movement is transformed into a wider coalition of people’s movement.


Also read: What lessons should Narendra Modi, Amit Shah & Arvind Kejriwal draw from Delhi election?


By Unnati Sharma, journalist at ThePrint

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12 Comments Share Your Views

12 COMMENTS

  1. This is confined only to muslim community and why others are not protesting if it is against whole indians as narrated by Muslim leaders

  2. These protests are slowly moving into Hindu versus Muslim agitation. India cannot allow illegal Bangladeshi Muslims to grant Indian citizenship. But Muslims are hell bent to have that right and slowly transform India a Muslim majority country.

  3. There still are people and, quite a few, who have scant idea of the turmoil that seems to have seized this country, and beyond the superficial observation that there are some protests underway in various places, they neither have the acquaintance nor any desire to acquire any, with such as prompts this interface. That number, becomes smaller with each passing day, and the general awareness becomes more pervasive. With it, the discrepancy manifested in the allegations contra the substance of the contention, too, gains currency and it remains no secret that the women at Shaheen Bagh are mere pawns, with neither the intelligence nor the Independence to face the increasingly pointed interrogatories, directed at them. That such insignificancies have the temerity to blackmail the state, without even the slightest apperception of the issue at hand is , understandably, a cause for concern as also a reminder of the vulnerabilities those laminate societal faultlines, and a potent augury of the tremendous, inevitable mayhem which awaits this unresolved communal cauldron of a state called India.
    Why would any rational muslim seperatist or Pak sympathizer oppose the CAA, their arguments drawing sustenance from Article 14 in this country is beyond my understanding.. Besides, the very apparent lack of cogency and easy rebuttals, the arrant ignorance of the dreadful consequences as would attend , should this argument find success is again nothing save rank uncouthness.
    Just bringing wider attention to article 14, in a country where exceptions to the precept have undergirded a plethora of affirmative remedies chiefly for minorities is bound to draw attention to such as it is bound to leave a great many people speechless should the tables turn
    With no mention of the minority narrative, the sheer volume of freedoms and autonomies granted muslims won’t stand scrutiny when viewed through the broad aperture of Article 14.
    Personal laws, waqf managements, financial autonomies, legal protection for unsustainable and blatantly communal practises would all come into question and disillusion more people with this sham of a democracry and a disunited federation.
    In 1947 the very people who voted for partition are endowed with equal rights and enfranchised, despite the trauma and the division , was such a craven inequity as sullied everything which came afterwards. India as it was defined in 47 bears not, the lineage which it’s purported to regularly of Bharat. It’s a deformity based on falsehoods , abutted by a borrowed constitution which again is nothing save a litany of prescriptive asininities , essentially relying on brute force to keep this unlikely union together.
    If the two nation theory was wrong how does one explain Partition ? if the two nation theory was rejected by the Congress how did it obtain that Jinnah was the last party to come on board and that he was the one worked upon by both Nehru and Mountbatten, to accept partition , the way they wanted it ?
    The establishment narrative of India, is much more liable to falter under logical inquiry than what is peddled for truth in Pakistan.
    The seperation if Banagladesh was in no manner a failure of the two nation theory.
    The two nation theory never says that there are but two nations in South Asia, or that people of one nation shall of necessity, live always in harmony. It merely, outlined the farcical notion of an Indian nation which remain as true today, as it always had been.
    Natives can live under the most brutal tyranny but won’t abide with each other, nor would their antipathy against however brutal an alien people, ever surpass that which they have for their neighbor.
    The idea of India, the essence of the nation – all these are lies which attempt to allot nationhood to a medley which cannot exist as one.

  4. A clear decide is evident when all Muslims are criticizing CAA in name of equality but have you ever seen demanding common civil code in name of equality. If they are given descriminatory religious favor allowing seperate civil code they enjoy if something given to other they cry. What these protesters are doing is making all Hindu also hardliners with their behaviour. Muslim intellectual must ask uniform civil code for all first and openly criticise religious terrorism in name of Islam before preaching others

    • In future, all Indian laws have to be passed in Pakistani parliament. otherwise these Muslims will never be happy. they want another division of India. getting Pakistan and Bangladesh was not enough.

  5. Hello print moderator
    I submitted my views which were posted for few minuts .
    What is ur policy to keep only certain views posted for long time ??
    It looks whole media juggernaut is notice board of organization one can only read and forced to think the way media wants .

  6. One opinion maker quoted MK Gandhi non cooperation movement in context of shaheen bag protest , he must note and read story of freedom struggle . MK Gandhi and congress was fighting against Oppressive occupier regime ,not elected govt of republic of india .
    This shows the superficial ness of people who misguiding innocent and ignorant citizen of our country . There is struggle of emotionality against rationality and reasoning for suffer ring. Hope sense prevails. We all move to peace prosperity and universal brotherhood .
    I hope govt of the the day communicate effectively To worries of concerned citizen .

  7. The whole movement, symbolized by the word “Shaheen Bagh” is an opportunity for us to rebuild ourselves as a more inclusive and progressive society. As Fascism marches on, there are only two choices – leverage Shaheen to launch an even more powerful and sweeping movement that will forge a new India that will truly embody the spirit of the founding fathers , not only in promise but also in practice OR risk an all out catharsis like the one that happened in Europe about 100 years ago, from which emerged what Slavoj Zizek calls “paradise”. But for the first to happen, we have to convince and draw in the millions of Hindus who are still looking at the world in the old binary way.

    • Have you ever lived in Bangladesh? No. Please do not lecture others about something you have no idea. Ask those illegal Bangladeshis, or the lefties and secular, why the Hindus have to leave Bangladesh, and let us know in this paper.

  8. ShaheenBagh protest is the 1st Chapter of “Ghazwa-e-Hind” movement inspired by Islamic ideology originating from Pakistan. IT INVOLVES CO-OPTING VULNERABLE HINDUS INTO THEIR CAUSE. The strategy is well-planned out where you find Dr Ambedkar’s photo prominently displayed at the protest site to draw lower caste Hindus and liberal-minded youth into their fold. Typical “divide-and-rule” policy that native Indians have been falling prey to… for ages.

    Dr Ambedkar who believed in universal brotherhood, had cautioned his people against Islam’s political ideology when he said “Islam is a close corporation and the distinction it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is very real. For those outside this corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity.” He was a strong opponent of Article 370 imposed in Kashmir by Nehru and would have been pleased to see the abrogation of this Article after so many decades. As a true secularist, he was also a staunch supporter of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and was opposed to the “vast and expansive jurisdiction of religion in lives of people”.

    This protest in Shaheen Bagh has less to do with CAA and more to do with abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and the upcoming UCC law by the Modi government. This is a movement against a democratically elected government that has taken upon itself the role to carry out long-pending social reforms badly needed in this country… which were part of Dr Ambedkar’s vision. These protests had its beginnings in the riots carried out by anti-national elements in Jamia and sponsored by non-BJP parties on the eve of Delhi Assembly elections!

    The supporting role in these protests played by misguided liberal Hindus and vulnerable Youth smitten by pseudo secularism – without knowing the real underlying motivations behind them is disturbing. It is time for people of this country to support the vision of Dr Ambedkar by supporting abrogation of Article 370 and push for implementation of Uniform Civil Code.

  9. Indian musleems have again proven that they can not be trusted and cannot live amicably with majority hendus by coming on to streets against CAA. This law is about foreigners from minority religions and by opposing it they have shown to rest of India that they are openly supporting illegal musleem infiltrators from Bangladesh , pakistan and Mayanmar just because they belong to same religion. They are fighting the cause of bangladeshihs , pakistanis and other non-indian musleems and this open show of religious fanaticism will not be forgotten easily by majority hendus.

  10. The brave women of Shaheen Bagh have made their point. It would be a stretch to compare it with Tahrir Square. However, the protests in Tamil Nadu a couple of days back show how powerful its emotive appeal has been. Delhi Police could easily have minimised inconvenience to commuters by opening alternative routes, chose not to do so. The protestors have faced exceptional polemic, invective, calumny, which voters rejected completely. Whatever the future course of the protests at this location and elsewhere may be, a wise administration would heed the message.

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