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When India’s Women Say ‘No,’ It Really Means ‘No’

When India’s Women Say ‘No,’ It Really Means ‘No’

Sights from a Women-Led Protest in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh Area to Resist a New Citizenship Law

India has witnessed numerous protests against a new law on citizenship for over a fortnight, but no agitation in this ongoing movement has endured as much as the one at Shaheen Bagh in the national capital has. This protest site has been unique, as it is led by women who have raised their voices to say “no” to the law, which discriminates against Muslim refugees.

While some organisers have told media that the protests at the south-east Delhi site, which blocked a key road to Noida, have been called off, people continue to descend here to agitate. Days before the announcement of the withdrawal, thousands of protesters gathered at the site on New Year’s Eve to welcome the new decade and raised slogans against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which allows only non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to apply for citizenship.

However, the protests are not just against the CAA, but also against a proposal to prepare a national register of citizens, which may require all citizens to prove their credentials.

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To frame the sights in Shaheen Bagh on the night of December 31, StoriesAsia celebrated the New Year’s Eve with the protesters.

People from all walks of life gathered to show solidarity for the ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh.
A young protester stands amongst many others despite the bone-chilling winter cold in Delhi.
A protester is wearing a “Boycott #NRC #CAA” pollution mask, possibly to signify the risks of participating in the ongoing protests.
A local man listened to speeches by several political leaders and activists who addressed the women protesters at Shaheen Bagh.
A sizeable number of children came with placards to take part in the protests along with their parents.
The elderly joined the demonstration to show their support despite the cold winter night.
A protester held up a poster depicting the state of detention camps in Assam.
A poster showed Baba Saheb Bheem Rao Ambedkar with the slogan “Desh Bachao, Samvidhan Bachao (Save the country, Save the Constitution).”
Women gathered under a make-shift tent where they have been on a marathon demonstration. The protest that started on 15 December is still going on.
Thousands gathered to oppose the new Citizen Amendment Act(CAA) and the National Register of Citizen(NRC) on New Year’s Eve. Protesters called it the “Black Day” to mark their protest.
Among the large crowd of protesters, hundreds were Muslim women, many clad in burquas. The protesters have blocked the road that connects Delhi to the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh at Shaheen Bagh for over a fortnight.
A massive banner at the protest site urged the government to “Stop police brutality.” On 12 December 2019, during protests against the CAA and NRC, Delhi Police was accused of using excessive force and brutally assaulting the protesting students of Jamia Millia Islamia University.
People from all walks of life gathered to show solidarity for the ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh.
Male family members and relatives at the protest site.
A poster seen at the site with the slogan,” Hai Huq Hamari, Aazadi (Freedom is our right).”

StoriesAsia, a collective of independent journalists from 16 South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, seeks to replace the present-day parade of faceless numbers with humanising narrative nonfiction – a largely ignored journalistic genre in the region.

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