Gaya, Bihar: In what can be called a replica of Shaheen Bagh, Shanti Bagh in Gaya is protesting since 29th December 2019 against Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 along with NRC and NPR. They are protesting under the banner of Samvidhan Bachao Morcha (Save Constitution Front).
Satish Kumar Das who describes himself as a social and political activist and is managing and running this protest as one of its convenors along with some other civil society members like Umair Khan alias Tikka Khan, Wasim Naiyar and Shamsher Khan. Satish Kumar Das has an interesting story to tell. We have been protesting against this unconstitutional act ever since it has been enacted but it wasn’t 24/7 indefinite sit-in protest, he adds while showing a picture of him and Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhim Army Chief who came to meet him at his home he says emphasising his activism.
After what happened in Jamia Millia Islamia on December 15, students and civil society members took out a candle march which turned violent when some anti-social elements tried to disrupt a peaceful protest which he says seemed a planned provocation and disruption. Later he and four others were booked by district administration alleging them responsible for the Candle March that took a violent turn.
Police tried to arrest him but he was hiding so police threatened and intimidated his wife Poonam Kumari that he’ll take his six-year-old daughter to the police station and her father will automatically come, he says. That didn’t happen. They formed Samvidhan Bachao Morcha to carry forward the protest and asked district administration for permission to protest at Protest Site in the city which was denied.
Finally, they decided to sit on an indefinite protest at Shanti Bagh, Gaya. Police didn’t remove them from the site as more and more people especially women came forward. They have been successfully protesting ever since. It has remained peaceful so far and has attracted a large women turnout. Protesters have joined not only from nearby colonies but also from nearby villages of Gaya city.
Gaya’s Shanti Bagh continues to be another #ShaheenBagh, but isn’t getting the much deserved media attention. Today witnessed a huge gathering of women and it was a truly electrifying and energetic atmosphere. Please RT. pic.twitter.com/OXIfNRXIyq
— Shabab Anwar (@Anwar_shabab) January 12, 2020
So many known personalities and leaders of Bihar joined this protest as of know. Former Speaker of Bihar assembly Uday Narayan Choudhary was the first to extend support to this protest. Later it was joined by former Chief Minister of Bihar, Jitan Ram Manjhi. Pappu Yadav who is a former MP from Madhepura have also joined this protest. Every other day some invited personalities come and speak while extending their support.
The list doesn’t stop here, they were joined by Nikhil Kumar, a former IPS officer who has also served Delhi Police as its Commissioner besides serving as a Governor of Kerala and Nagaland. They were very happy about the fact that they are getting support from all quarters.
Nikhil Kumar said, “I used to be proud of having served Delhi Police but now I am ashamed to see their brutal crackdown on peacefully protesting students”.
It was also joined by Akhtarul Iman, currently AIMIM Chief of Bihar and a former MLA from Kochadhaman, Kishanganj along with Ali Anwar Ansari, former Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar.
Yesterday was a unique day in the ongoing protest as it was the women-only day. It has always been a mixed gathering of men and women otherwise. Thousands of women joined the protest and it was a truly electrifying and upbeat atmosphere one of the protesters says. Kainat Shaheen who is currently a student in Allahabad University pursuing BUMS. She tells that she has been a consistent attendee to this protest.
She recalls when her university was shut down in the wake of the protests spreading to all the campuses across India after the violent and horrific nights of AMU and Jamia. She says that the government can’t suppress our voice and should rather listen to her voice and everyone else, that’s the way forward and arrogance pays she ends by quoting Faiz, “Hum Dekhenge” ( We’ll see ).
Another girl Neelam who’s currently a student of BUMS in Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, was also present there and have been coming almost every day.
She said, “what happened to the students of AMU and Jamia was truly horrific and she wasn’t able to sleep a whole night that fateful day. CAA is inherently discriminatory in nature and an exclusive act that must be protested and revoked. This is an attack on the secular character of our nation and we won’t let it happen she adds while joining everyone else in sloganeering.”
With increasing turn-out every day, the people of Shanti Bagh, Gaya has resolved to continue the protest despite the chilling weather. They are firm on their demand for the rollback of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and National Population Register.
Shabab Anwer is currently pursuing B.Sc. from Aligarh Muslim University.