‘Modi is afraid’: women take lead in India’s citizenship protests

 

Housewives, grandmothers and students in Delhi at centre of resistance to new citizenship laws

Hannah Ellis-Petersen in Delhi and Shaikh Azizur Rahman in Kolkata
Tue 21 Jan 2020


Women protesting in Shaheen Bagh. ‘I will only leave this place when my children’s lives are safe,’ one protester said. Photograph: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

With a toothless grin and a clenched fist raised to the heavens, 90-year-old Asma Khatun chanted exuberantly. “Azadi,” she cried, using the Hindi word for freedom and joining a loud chorus that rang out across Shaheen Bagh, a neighbourhood in South Delhi that over the past few weeks has become a nationwide symbol of resistance.

In her nine decades, Khatun has lived through British colonial rule, the war of independence and India’s bloody partition with Pakistan, but as a housewife she had always stayed behind closed doors and barely brushed with politics. That was until last month.

For over 40 days, the frail but feisty 90-year-old has been camped out on the streets day and night, side by side with hundreds of women and braving Delhi’s coldest temperatures for more than a century. “I am old, my bones hurt in the cold and my children are very worried about my health, but I am sitting here because I will not stand by as Mr Modi tries to break up India, to tell me that this is not my home after 90 years,” said Khatun.
She added defiantly: “Scared? Who said anything about fear. I have never been in a protest before but I will not be moving and if I die here, then I will die fighting for my children and my country.”

READ MORE HERE: 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.