People protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Shaheen Bagh have extended an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and celebrate Valentine’s Day with them on Friday.
The protesters, who are staging a demonstration since December 15 last year demanding withdrawal of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and a proposed all-India National Register of Citizens (NRC), will also unveil a “love song” and “a surprise gift” for PM Modi.
Posters at the protest site in south-east Delhi and also circulating on social media platforms read: “PM Modi, please come to Shaheen Bagh, collect your gift and talk to us.”
#TumKabAaoge Thursday 13 Feb. 5PM , extending a heart felt invitation to Prime Minister to come to Shaheen Bagh and celebrate the festival of Love, together. #ShaheenBaghProtest #India_With_Shaheenbagh pic.twitter.com/aMNkJ784wL
— Shaheen Bagh Official (@ShaheenBagh_) February 12, 2020
“Whether Prime Minister Modi or Home Minister Amit Shah or anyone else, they can come and talk to us. If they can convince us that whatever is happening is not against the Constitution, we will end this protest,” Syed Taseer Ahmed, one of the first protesters at Shaheen Bagh, told news agency PTI.
He said according to the government’s claims, the CAA was “to award citizenship and not to take away someone’s citizenship”, but nobody explained, “how is it going to help the country”.
“How is CAA going to help us tackle issues of unemployment, poverty and economic slowdown, which are the most pressing issues,” Ahmed asked.
Protests against the CAA and the NRC unfolded at Shaheen Bagh, Zakir Nagar, Jamia Nagar, Khureji Khas and other places in the national capital and elsewhere in the country in December.
Earlier this month, Union Minister Giriraj Singh had said that Shaheen Bagh is being turned into a “breeding ground for suicide bombers plotting against the country from the national capital”.
Another BJP leader, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, had last month courted controversy by dubbing the Shaheen Bagh area as a ‘hub of treason’.
Earlier BJP candidate from Model Town, Kapil Mishra in a controversial tweet termed the area as ‘mini-Pakistan’ for which the Election Commission had imposed a campaign ban on the leader for 48 hours.
Union state Minister Anurag Thakur had also triggered a controversy by prompting controversial sloganeering during an election campaign referring to Shaheen Bagh. While another BJP leader Parvesh Verma also made remarks on the area by saying that Delhi will face Kashmir like situation in Shaheen Bagh due to the protests.
Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh has emerged as an epicentre of the anti-CAA protest where the protesters are sitting since December 15 demanding the government to withdraw the law.
Two incidents of shooting have also been reported from the site.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also lashed out at those protesting against CAA at Shaheen Bagh. The BJP leader has consistently made Shaheen Bagh, the much talked about anti-CAA protest site in Delhi, a key election issue.
Addressing an election rally, Amit Shah had said: “When you press the button (on the voting machine) on February 8, do so with such anger that its current is felt at Shaheen Bagh.”
According to the new law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The opposition parties have termed the legislation as “unconstitutional” which “is aimed at diverting attention from the burning issues of the common people”.
Meanwhile, in a significant observation on Shaheen Bagh, the Supreme Court had on Monday said that there “cannot be indefinite protests” and “agitations cannot continue like this on public places”.
(With PTI inputs)