New Delhi: The Delhi government has banned gatherings of more than 50 people as part of its coronavirus prevention measures. Meanwhile, the women-led Shaheen Bagh protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act continues.
What do the new guidelines mean for the protest? Are women worried for their health? What precautions are they taking? The Wire‘s Srishti Srivastava finds out.
The women say that for them, the draconian laws brought by the Modi government are no less than a deadly virus. “Why has government taken the number to be 50? Can’t the virus spread in a gathering of 45 or even two? Many people who have been displaced in the Delhi riots are staying in a camp, what is the government doing for them? We understand that coronavirus outbreak is deadly, but for us, CAA, NPR and NRC are equally deadly,” said a woman at the protest.
“We have been protesting here since past three months and we will not stop until the law is repealed,” she added.
“About 50 people travel in a bus, train and flight everyday, will Kejriwal stop them? Will he stop the wedding gatherings too? Because of the new citizenship law, riots broke out, so many people lost their lives but at that time the CM didn’t speak a word, then why is he speaking now?” said another woman at the protest.
“Where does the figure of 50 comes from? It’s not a WHO or ICMR figure, nor it has been prescribed by any medical authority. The women here are protesting for their existence, and in these circumstances the CM puts out an arbitrary figure and points out that the protestors at Shaheen Bagh has to get up. I think the authorities should answer the protest politically rather than fooling the public by asking the protesters to quit their protest on medical grounds,” said a woman at the protest.
“We agree that it’s a public health emergency but the onus of public health is on the government. The women here are very conscious, they are being advised by the doctors to wear a mask, wash their hands and maintain safe distance from each other and they are doing it religiously,” she added.
“We come here after a bath, wash hands regularly and keep ourselves clean. Cleanliness is all that we need here because this crowd here is our strength. We are not restricting our number to 50 here, whoever will come to join the protest will sit here because that’s our strength. We are hopeful that nothing will happen to us because this draconian law is even more deadlier than coronavirus. We are afraid of detention camps, not coronavirus,” said a protester.
“Women here are either wearing a mask or using their hijab to cover faces. Even in the parliament, more than 50 people gather. In metros, buses and airports, more than 50 people are travelling everyday. What all will the government stop?” said another woman at the protest.