At the indefinite sit-in protest of women of Seelampur-Jafrabad in New Delhi on Thursday, Sadaf Jafar, who was recently released on bail in Uttar Pradesh, came to address the women on CAA-NRC-NPR. Jafar was arrested in December in UP during a protest against CAA for doing an FB Live. Jafar is the media spokesperson of Congress in UP, a teacher, actor and a social activist. In her speech, she talks about the power of women and said that when men go to jail, women take to the fight.
“NPR is a silent killer as it will have questions asking us where our parents came from, what was their date of birth and when we will fail to answer those questions, the govt. will call us immigrants. This is why it is our right to question such laws. We cannot have the government act as a silent spectator to farmer suicides, let them sell the lands that belong to tribal people to giant industrialists and watch the economy fall,” says Jafar. She was arrested on December 19 during the anti-citizenship amendment act (Anti-CAA) protests in Lucknow’s Parivartan Chowk.
Her arrest was also caught on camera. “What have we done? Why are you arresting me? Why didn’t you arrest the people who were pelting stones? How can you arrest me?” Sadaf asked the woman cop when she was picked up.
About her jail experience she said, “The police thought that jail will break us but no we were thinking how we will continue the fight strongly when we come out. We were thinking about the women sitting and protesting under the cold nights in Shaheen Bagh without fear. Let's not make CAA scare Muslims in the country because nothing can move us out. This is not against one religion, it is against humanity.”
Jafar questions the basis of CAA. “We will continue with our act of civil disobedience. When they will ask us to show our documents, we will not. When they question our citizenship, we will not answer. Mahatma Gandhi taught us civil disobedience, our father who awakened freedom struggle across the country.”
Inspired by the indefinite sit-in protest in Shaheen Bagh, the women of Seelampur-Jafrabad have been protesting continuously since the last week of December. They self-organise and conduct peaceful all women's marches in protest of the citizenship amendment bill.
“They have only seen our bangles - a sign of vulnerability - but not our fists together that shouts 'Inquilab'. Let's not make CAA scare Muslims in the country because nothing can move us out. This is not against one religion, it is against humanity.”
“With our collective strength and resolve, we will fight back all attempts by the state and police to repress these protests which have been on-going in the area for more than two weeks now. Despite repeated threats by police, women have been autonomously self-organising, campaigning and mobilising, slowly and steadily building a resilient movement,” as per a statement by Pinjra Tod. The Pinjra Tod collective has been consistently present at the Seelampur-Jafrabad protest.
There have been a few instances of clampdown by police on this women-led protest however; the women remained unfettered and still going strong. These women started with strength of 100 and now until Thursday, there were 5,000 women who joined the protest.
Meanwhile, women are truly leading these protests from the forefront since Shaheen Bagh and the protests are spreading across in many places now like Seelampur-Jafrabad, Khureji, Laxmi Nagar in New Delhi, UP's Prayagraj, Bihar's Gaya, etc. where it is the women who are organising these protests.