New Delhi: February 1 saw nearly 20,000 protesters – most of them farmers and Muslim women – take to the streets at Malerkotla in Punjab, against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The rally was an “invitation march,” designed to raise awareness on the Act and inform people of a bigger protest rally in the town on February 16.
The rally was held under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) Ugrahan group and saw participation by several Muslim organisations like the Jamat-e-Islami Hind and Zarka Zaafri.
The women wore yellow clothing to symbolise oneness and chanted slogans that went, “Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, saaray kirtee bhai bhai“.
The rally was addressed at several points across town by local women leaders Harinder Kaur Bindu, Harpreet Kaur Jethuke, Baljeet Kaur, Parmjit Kaur Pitho and Paramjit Kaur Kotra.
A press release sent out by the group said the women leaders stressed on the importance of rising above religious differences. One of the slogans chanted at the rally was “Bhai nal bhai larren nee dena, sun santaali banan nee dena.” Translated, it means, “We cannot let brothers fight each other, we cannot let it be 1947 again.”
While strongly condemning the brutal repression of peaceful protesters across the country, the leaders decried the government’s alleged efforts to establish a ‘Hindu rashtra’ and expressed solidarity with students of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia.
On January 17, the Punjab state assembly passed a resolution demanding that the CAA be scrapped. State minister Brahm Mohindra had moved the resolution against the CAA on the second day of the two-day special assembly session.