Colourful protest at Jantar Mantar as transgenders, too, join in Delhi

New Delhi: Transgenders on Friday rubbed shoulders with mothers carrying toddlers in their arms and young girls along in a colourful protest march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar here against the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act, with cries of 'Halla bol' and 'Azadi.'

The protest was organised by 45 civil society organisation to mark the birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule, a social reformer who worked for girls' education in Maharashtra. Police said no action was taken as the demonstration was peaceful and it did not disrupt the traffic as in the past. Protesters held a meeting for an hour and then dispersed.

Some of those organising the road blockade to Noida since December 15 on Thursday called off the protest at Shaheen Bagh near the Jamia Millia Islamia university here against CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) but the local housewives and other women refused to leave the spot and continued their agitation.

Sharjeet Imam, a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and a member of the Shaheen Bagh coordination committee, and two others feared breakout of violence as some BJP "goons" were trying to disrupt the non-political and peaceful movement. They also feared that the political parties are trying to capture the stage in view of the impending Delhi Assembly election.

Women, who were staging round-the-clock protest, however, insisted that they would continue their sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh until the government withdraws amendments in the Citizenship Act and stops discrimination between the Muslims and other communities. Most of the protesters are women from the surrounding Muslim localities but there are also Hindu girls and women to ensure it doesn't become a communal gathering.

Explaining why the protest should stop, Imam said: "Police were probably asked not to intervene except to make polite requests to vacate the road linking Delhi with Noida as perhaps BJP intends to intervene themselves. If that happens, our peaceful protest will be tarnished, breaking the morale of the people."

The Jamia students are continuing their protest, now resorting to painting anti-CAA and anti-NRC graffiti on the road outside their university, which has become the epicentre of the protests in the capital as scores of students and civil society members carrying the Tricolour can be seen sitting on the road outside the university.

The graffiti that they call "road art" carry slogans like "You can't impose 144 on our speech, freedom and truth," "Jiyo aur Jeene do (live and let live)", "Mera Desh, Mera Samvidhan (My nation, my Constitution," with caricatures of Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and police attacking the protesters.

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