Ground Report: How BJP Used Delhi Rioters To End Women's Protests

Akshay Deshmane
File photo of women during a protest against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), near Jaffrabad metro station, in North-east Delhi, on February 23, 2020.

NEW DELHI—It was poised to emerge as the second Shaheen Bagh-like venue in Delhi but following repeated insistence from police officials to clear the road for regular traffic and despite vehement disagreements between some protestors and their male supporters about moving elsewhere, the protesting women of Jafrabad vacated their demonstration from the spot late on Tuesday night. 

As reports of violence continued to emerge close to midnight on the night of Feb 25 in other parts of north-east Delhi, the women sitting on one side of a road underneath the Jafrabad metro station ended their sit-in. The Jafrabad metro station is a short walk from other riot-affected localities such Maujpur and Gokulpuri

On the night of Saturday Feb 22, nearly a thousand protesting women occupied one side of the road underneath the Jafrabad metro station in an attempt to ensure that their protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens was acknowledged by the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The women had previously protested in Seelampur, but felt their demonstrations had been ignored by the administration. The sit-in on Saturday night was also in support of a day-long all India strike announced by the Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azad.

The withdrawal of the women’s sit-in protest from Jafrabad was a significant development amidst the seemingly endless and rapidly escalating violence across north-east Delhi on Tuesday. Jafrabad was one of the two protest sites cited by Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit member Kapil Mishra on Sunday, when he gave a public “ultimatum” to the Delhi Police officials about “clearing” the sites of protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. This speech has been considered as one of the key provocations for the ongoing violence in north-east Delhi with BJP’s own Member of Parliament Gautam Gambhir seeking action against Mishra. 

As the protest was...

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