This is an urgent call for global action. For the last three days, large violent mobs of right-wing Hindu nationalists have unleashed a spate of violent attacks in Delhi which have led to at least twenty three deaths recorded so far and injured more than 100. Vehicles and commercial establishments owned by members of the Muslim community have been specifically targeted and burned or vandalized. Mobs have been threatening women and children with physical violence and rape, and Northeast Delhi is burning. In the meantime, the Delhi police has played a silent spectator, and other times has actively aided the mob.
The trigger for these attacks follows a day after a legislator from the ruling BJP called on Hindus to shoot the “anti-nationalists” who have been engaged in peaceful protests against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which threatens to render millions of Muslims, Adivasis and other marginalized communities stateless in their own country.
The women of Shaheen Bagh, a mostly working class predominantly Muslim neighborhood in Delhi, are the most prominent symbols of the peaceful protests against the CAA. Muslim women, who are often invisibilized and absent from public spaces and conversations, and even within liberal imaginations, have asserted their presence physically and metaphorically. They have been on an ongoing day-night protest for over two months blocking one of the major highways in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region) and have declared that they will not budge until the CAA and other discriminatory proposals are revoked.
Shaheen Bagh is as much a space led by the daadis (grandmothers) such as 90-year old Asma Khatun who has lived through British colonialism and refuses to be forced out of her homeland, as by young women negotiating housework and care work with their families so that they can participate in the protests in the dead cold of Delhi winter. It is a space where ‘daily passengers’ who do not belong to the community drop by frequently to show solidarity. It is a space where Sikh farmers traveled all the way from Punjab to prepare langar (food for the community) for their Shaheen Bagh sisters. It is almost a space of pilgrimage, a site of protest art, music, literature, and bold articulations of solidarity and justice. It is a space that has inspired other Shaheen Baghs in Northeast Delhi and around India – Park Circus in Kolkata, Nagpada in Mumbai, Ghanta Ghar in Lucknow, Haj House in Ranchi, Jharkhand, Old Washermanpet in Chennai, Anaj Mandi in Malerkotla, Punjab, and many others.
However, the brutal violence unleashed by the Hindu nationalists in Delhi that started on Sunday (23rd February) targeting the women and men sitting on protest in Jaffrabad and Chandbagh in Northeast Delhi, threatens Shaheen Baghs all across India. The brutality of the attacks are aimed at silencing the extraordinary courage of the protesting Muslim women and men, and others who are opposing the CAA. It is our ethical responsibility to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community in Delhi and the rest of India. We appear to be in the early stages of another well-planned pogrom against Muslims after Gujarat in 2002.
We are calling on an urgent global show of solidarity in one of three ways.
- Twitter bomb the following on Feb 26th and 27th with “End Sanghi Violence”
Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal @ArvindKejriwal
Union Home Minister, Amit Shah @AmitShah
- Post a picture on social media of a placard “Stand with Shaheen Bagh” with your city and country with the hashtag #ShaheenBagh. Tag your post to the following:
Facebook (@Shaheen Bagh Official)
- Call your local Indian embassies. State where you are from and condemn the state-backed violence against Muslims and peaceful dissenters in Delhi and other parts of India.
Indian diplomatic missions in the US:
New York: 347-721-9243
San Francisco: 415-668-0662
— India Civil Watch (ICW)