Mumbai: The coronavirus pandemic has cast a pall of doom on the ongoing all-women anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest at Nagpada’s Morland Road, dubbed Mumbai Bagh.
On Sunday, the state health minister Rajesh Tope urged citizens to avoid mass gatherings and practise social distancing. From Monday, the number of women visiting Mumbai Bagh began to fall.
Having begun with a strength of 45 on January 26, as many as 300 women visitors flocked to the protest each day. However, this number has been barely touching 50 lately.
“After the coronavirus outbreak, footfall has reduced. Fewer women are turning up these days,” said Shaziya Ali, one of the protesters.
Despite Tope’s request to citizens, the protesting women remained firm in their resolve, insisting they would not call off the protest unless Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray passed a resolution against the implementation of the contentious CAA, the National Population Register and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“This is an emergency situation and we may downgrade the gathering. The women and the committee are discussing the matter and a final decision will be taken soon,” said activist Feroze Mithiborewala, who has been spearheading the protests since the first day.
Since the outbreak, hand sanitisers were being provided to the visitors. However, these were not enough for the large number of women arriving there each day.
“Hand sanitisers are placed at the protest venue. However, this doesn’t seem adequate to contain the virus spread” said Tarannum Baig, a protester. “We have taken a stand against a contentious act. Calling it off may arbitrarily may hurt the morale of the women,” Baig added.