“With a heavy heart but great hope in our hearts, We temporarily suspend the ongoing 24hrs sit-in protest against #CAA_NRC_NPR at Gate No. 7, JMI and appeal to all protestors to kindly take the situation with utmost seriousness and save themselves and others from this fatal illness,” stated a message shared in various WhatsApp groups by Jamia Coordination Committee members. The message was also posted on Twitter soon )
With a heavy heart but great hope in our hearts, we temporarily suspend the ongoing 24 hrs sit-in protest at Gate no. 7, JMI and appeal to all protestors to kindly take the situation with utmost seriousness and save themselves and others from this fatal illness: @Jamia_JCC pic.twitter.com/bLdsBVbP2B
— Jamia Coordination Committee (@Jamia_JCC) March 21, 2020
This is a bold, conscious step to help combat the spread of Covid-19 in Delhi. The other anti-CAA-NPR-NRC protests in the city are also likely to suspend their sit-ins over the weekend. Efforts are on from all quarters to convince the women protesting peacefully at Shaheen Bagh protest to suspend the movement for the time being. “We must show them the visuals and tell them that even Mecca has emptied out. Suspending it for the moment is in the larger interest of our people,” said a volunteer who wished to remain anonymous.
According to sources at Shaheen Bagh, the protest will not shut down but four women will sit on dharna and continue their peaceful agitation for now.
And the organisers of the Shahi Eidgah, have decided to continue their protest against CAA-NPR-NRC without gathering in public places. They say they are doing this , “as a safety measure to arrest the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic,” and in the name of humanity.
“We are extremely concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic and fully recognise the unique challenges it poses for our country in particular. We care deeply about our neighbours, residents of our city, and the people of our country, as they, no doubt, care about us and our concerns about the serious consequences of CAA-NPR-NRC for marginalised groups and communities of India.”
“We are fighting for the people. We will suspend our protests till March 31 in view of the steps needed to tackle the threat of CoronaVirus,” an organiser from the Azad Market protest had told Sabrang yesterday .
“This is a fatal virus and the protests are densely dense. Self isolation is the best prevention,” said another protester.
“Our protests have never jeopardised anyone’s safety, and despite continued provocation, intimidation and motivated aggression we have never wavered from our path of truth and non-violence. All we ever wanted, at any point during our long protest, was to be heard by the government,” stated the organisers. They added that they will now take their movement online: “While the pandemic means that we will not be able to assemble in public spaces, we have decided to take our opposition to CAA-NPR-NRC online and mark our resistance with other means (posters and hashtags on social media). We are not calling off our protest. We appeal to other Anti-CAA-NPR-NRC protests across the country to change to the mode of resistance that does not require public assembly. We will continue to talk about equality, liberty, solidarity and justice as the principles basic to the existence of the entire humanity.”
The Delhi government has now allowed only five people to assemble at a point, reducing it drastically from the earlier 20.
Delhi will shut down this Sunday as a part of the civil curfew called by Prime Minister Modi. Apart from Delhi Metro, even app-based taxi services may not be available, nor will autos or cycle rickshaws ply. The Delhi Metro will even regulate its services on Monday as an added precaution.