5,000 Shaheen Baghs Will Come Up Across India In Next 10 Days, Says Bhim Army Chief
Azad said the government would have to walk over the corpses of protesters if it refused to roll back the "unconstitutional" Citizenship Amendment Act.
Bhim Army Chief Chandrasekhar Azad at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)
New Delhi: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who visited Shaheen Bagh here on Wednesday, said 5,000 more protest sites like it will come up across the country in the next 10 days. Thousands of people, including women and children, have been protesting for over a month at Shaheen Bagh and nearby Jamia Millia Islamia to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act protests (CAA) and the National Register (NRC).
Azad reached the demonstration spot in south Delhi to extend his support to the protesters.
Addressing a massive gathering, Azad said the CAA is a "black law" dividing people along religious lines.
"I congratulate those who have participated in this protest. This is not just a political agitation. We have to save the Constitution and the unity of the nation," he said.
"(BR) Ambedkar had said that women will lead. Today when the Constitution is in danger, women are leading the country and fighting for it," he said, adding that not even the record-breaking cold has been able to break the will power of the women.
Azad said the government would have to walk over the corpses of protesters if it refused to roll back the CAA, which has been passed by the Parliament and came into effect earlier this month. His comments came days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah, at a rally in Lucknow, said the government would not withdraw the contentious legislation and protesters could continue to agitate.
The protesters, singing Faiz Ahmed Faiz's Urdu poem 'Hum Dekhnege' before Azad's arrival, got more charged as he reached the venue.
Holding the Constitution, he said, "I promise you that in the next days there will be at least 5,000 Shaheen Baghs across the country."
With the crowd cheering him on, Azad asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was averse to listening to the protesters.
"If the PM can do 'Mann Ki Baat,' then why is he not listening to the 'mann ki baat' of the women of Shaheen Bagh who are sitting on protest for the last 38 days for a cause?" asked Azad. "I have been told by the court to respect the Prime Minister and the Constitution, but the Prime Minister should also listen to the voice of people."
Azad's visit to Shaheen Bagh came a day after a Delhi court modified the conditions imposed on him while granting him bail. He was arrested last month for giving "inflammatory speeches" during an anti-CAA protest at the Jama Masjid.
The court allowed him to visit Delhi for medical reasons and election purposes. It also directed Azad to register his presence with the Station House Officer (SHO) of Fatehpur police station in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, every Saturday for four weeks and on the last Saturday of every month.
Meanwhile, protesters at Shaheen Bagh said they were eager to put forth their point of view before Supreme Court judges on how unconstitutional the amended citizenship law is. The apex court earlier on Wednesday gave the Centre four weeks to respond to a batch of pleas challenging the CAA.
Tasmin Bano, a resident of Shaheen Bagh who has been a regular at the site since the protest began, said they will not move from the spot unless the CAA is revoked.
"We have heard the Supreme Court has given time to the Centre and till that time they would not stay the CAA. We are also ready to prove our version and can tell the court how unconstitutional this law is," she said.
Alexender Fleming, a protester holding the Bible, said listening to only one party is not the way to solve an issue.
"They (the other petitioners) also need to be heard and we are ready for that. We have full faith that we will prove our stand on how anti-constitutional this law is," he said.
(With inputs from agencies)
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