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Symposium on CAA-NRC-NPR by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Women’s Wing

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On March 8, 2020, the women’s wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) organized a symposium on the theme “Women’s struggle against CAA-NRC-NPR”, at the Press Club of India in New Delhi.

In her introductory remarks, Dr. Fatima Tanveer, PR Secretary of JIH (Women’s wing) described the ongoing protest by women in different parts of the country against the CAA as the biggest ever women-led movement in the history of India. Lakhs of women have been taking part in it on a daily basis, in the bitter cold, braving police atrocities, for more than two months now. Comparing them to the brave women in the freedom struggle against the British rule, she hailed the fact that the women, who were once considered weak and suppressed, are now challenging the BJP led central government’s attempt to enact a hostile law which threatens the citizenship rights of people.

Speakers at the symposium included Ms. Sucharita of Lok Raj Sangathan, Prof. Pushpanjali of Delhi University, Ms. Atiya Siddiqua, Secretary JIH, Ms. Rahamathunnissa, Co-secretary JIH and others.

In her welcome address, Ms. Shaista Rafat of JIH (Women’s wing) declared that the women taking the leading role in the anti-CAA protests has changed the entire political scenario today. She expressed her confidence with the words “when women take up a cause, they will surely succeed”.

Ms. Sucharita of Lok Raj Sangathan highlighted the fact that the anti-CAA protests have brought together people of all religious faiths – Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc. – on one common platform, challenging the authority of those in power to deprive us of our rights. This unity that has manifested itself so powerfully is a slap in the face of our rulers who seek to divide us. The government resorted to suppression, organizing provocations, beating up the students and women protestors, but each time they rose again like falcons (shaheen), making the agitation stronger.

Recalling the horrors of the state-organised communal violence and state terror that was unleashed in North East Delhi in the last days of February, she pointed out that despite the attempts of the state to divide the people, they have remained united. She denounced the utter contempt of our rulers for the people, shown by the declaration of the Home Minister that the government will not “go back even an inch” on the CAA. The fact that such political parties can come to power and get away with committing such heinous crimes against our people shows that there is something seriously wrong with the political process in our country, she said. The biggest monopoly corporate houses fund the election campaign of their preferred political parties and bring to power that party which will best implement their agenda at a particular time. We cannot hold our elected representatives to account, nor can we recall them. We cannot make laws or amend them, because only Parliament and state legislatures have the power to do so.

Many examples of the police brutally beating up and arresting peaceful protestors during the anti-CAA protests were used by Sucharita to draw attention to the fact that even rights stated in the Constitution, such as those of “peaceful assembly”, are regularly denied to us, whenever the state chooses to declare “special circumstances”, because the Constitution has provisions to do so. The new India we aspire to build, she concluded, must have constitutional guarantees for all our fundamental rights, including the right to conscience.

JIH (Women’s wing) co-secretary, Ms. Rahamathunnissa spoke of the international impact of the women’s protests against the CAA. At a recent international conference in London, women from all over the world were expressing pride in the fact that Indian women in ‘niqab’ were boldly giving arguments against the divisive policy of the government, she said. She expressed her confidence in the fighting capacity of our women.

Imaan Usmani, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia University, who braved barbaric police attacks during the anti-CAA protests, spoke of the struggle in university campuses such as JNU, Jamia, AMU, Jadavpur, Bareilley and other places. She pointed out that more the students were attacked, the more determined they became to continue their resistance struggle. She drew inspiration from the valiant protests of the women of Shaheen Bagh and many similar women’s protests all over the country.

Prof. Pushpanjali of Delhi University hailed the brave women of Shaheen Bagh, whose persistent struggle has exposed the many myths that are routinely spread about Indian women being ‘backward’ and ‘timid’. The struggle has shaken up the system today, she said, and called for taking the movement forward towards greater emancipation for all women and men.

In her presidential address, JIH (Women’s wing) secretary Ms. Atiya Siddiqua spoke of equal rights for both women and men. She emphasized that people of our country – Muslims and Hindus – stand united and want peace.

Zikra, a former student of JMI, who was also injured in the anti-CAA protests, declared that “we will continue our fight till the CAA is withdrawn”.

JIH (Women’s wing) Delhi state secretary, Ms. Nuzhat Yasmeen, thanked the speakers as well as the organisers, for having facilitated the discussion on this very important issue in our struggle at this time.

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