lørdag 4. januar 2020

The women occupying Delhi street against citizenship law

For more than two weeks, hundreds of Muslim women have been braving one of the coldest winters in India's capital Delhi to protest against a controversial new citizenship law. BBC Punjabi's Arvind Chhabra reports.

On 31 December, Delhi experienced its coldest day in more than a century. But that did not deter the women of the Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood. Armed with thick blankets, warm cups of tea and songs of resistance, they have not left their spot under a tent on a public street since 15 December. And that's how they rang in the New Year - a few minutes after midnight, they stood up to sing the Indian national anthem.

Their demand? Revoke the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The law, which came into effect on 11 December, offers amnesty to non-Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government says it will protect religious minorities fleeing persecution in these countries. But the government's words have done little to reassure India's Muslims, many of whom fear the law will discriminate against them - and could even go as far as to push some out of the country or into detention centres.

"I hardly ever leave my house alone," admits Firdaus Shafiq, one of the protesters. "My son or husband accompany me even to the nearby market. So I found it tough at first to be out here.

"But I feel compelled to protest."