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Women's groups felicitate Shaheen Bagh Dadi, demand Delhi police stop 'atrocious' probe

By Our Representative

Several civil society organizations, while felicitating the Shaheen Bagh movement and Bilkis Dadi – whom they called “a global symbol of peaceful resistance” – have demanded that the Delhi Police should immediately stop “maliciously targeting” all equal citizenship protestors, most of whom were women, for the Delhi riots of February 2020.
At a formal a function in Delhi, prominent women’s rights leaders Dr Syeda Hameed, Annie Raja, Bhasha Singh, Dr. Poonam Batra, Vertika Mani, , said that the Dadi of Shaheen Bagh, listed among the 100 most influential people of 2020 by “Time” magazine, should be reason enough to express outrage against the Delhi Police’s vindictive investigation by seeking to call the anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA)-National Register of Citizens (NRC) protests “sinister conspiracy” for engineering Delhi riots.
A statement, issued by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and women’s rights organizations National Federation of Indian Women and Saheli, which had organized the function, said, “We are proud that Muslim women led these protests, in the best traditions of our freedom struggle.”
It added, “We equally proud that we joined this struggle, across religions, classes, generations and regions, in full measure, along with students, academics, queer groups, people’s movements, farmers’ collectives, and ordinary citizens to fight for justice, harmony and equal citizenship for all.”
“Something resonated in the soul of India, which is why in over 200 places, women sat on our streets to be heard, and be visible as equal citizens. This is surely what women’s empowerment is about”, the statement added.
The statement regretted, “Women often do not have land or property in their names, have lower literacy rates, and leave their natal homes upon marriage with no documents to show. In Assam, a majority of the 19 lakh left out of the NRC, are women. So women protested in large numbers, not to destroy India through violence, but to save it by peaceful means.”
Accusing the “embedded media” for trying to malign the movement by saying that women were being paid Rs 500 to sit in protest, the statement said, “Now, the Delhi Police has emulated that shameful effort, to demean, and target this movement and all who stood with it.”
It added, “In its charge sheets, peaceful women have been portrayed as rioters who hid knives under their burkhas, and carried mirchi powder to spread violence. Sometimes they are presented as calculating and evil and out to destroy India, and at other times as being mindlessly provoked to violence.”

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