Several women’s organisations, collectives and individuals* have called upon the State and Central governments, institutions, authorities and elected representatives to urgently address take executive measures to ensure that the entire the process of National Population Register (NPR) data collection is deferred immediately.
Issued against the wake of increasing pressure to withdraw protests because of COVID-19, in a statement reflecting what they calls “genuine concerns of several thousands of protesting women throughout the country despite the corona pandemic”, they suggest the onus is on the government authorities for ending the protests.
In Delhi, where the police forced clear the Shaheen Bagh protest site on Tuesday morning, bringing curtains down on the three-month-old agitation led by Muslim women against NPR, National Register of Citizens (NCR) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). A total of nine protesters, including six women, were detained.
Seeking total withdrawal of NPR, NCR and CAA in due course, the statement says, “It is easy for the government institutions and agencies to withdraw the NPR/NRC/CAA, and allow the protestors to resume their daily lives rather than risking the deadly disease.”
Claiming that such a move would be “in the larger interest of humanity” and would be recognised as “a gracious move by the government”, the statement, signed by 70 individuals and a dozen organizations, including National Federation of Indian Women, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, and All India Democratic Women’s Association, says that this alone would address “burning concerns of women.”
The statement claims to reflect genuine concerns of thousands of protesting women across the country despite the corona pandemic
According to the statement, “As the country is gearing up to fight the threat of the corona virus pandemic, an equally enormous concern is looming over the women of India. For the last few months, thousands of women have been sitting in protest throughout the country, representing the concerns of majority of the population in demanding withdrawal of the NPR/NRC/CAA project.”
It adds, “The gravity of their concerns can be gauged by their continued assertion that even if they survive the corona virus, they will still face a cruel and inhuman death at detention centres.”Yet, it regrets, both central and state governments and institutions have “consistently refused to engage with these peacefully protesting citizens, instead making them a target to malign, attack and deride.”
The statement believes, “It is a fact that galvanizing the undivided energy of the women from every home, where all preventive measures such as physical distancing, will actually be playing out, is imperative if the country is to fully fight the pandemic.”
“In the face of such an unprecedented challenge”, it says, “Women have come forward with innovative methods to continue the challenge to NPR/NRC/CAA while joining the fight against corona. The fight against one cannot dilute the other.”
It asserts, “As representatives of women’s collectives, movements and organizations, and as individuals working for human and gender rights, we reiterate our support to the women’s protests against NPR/NRC/CAA the across the country.
We appeal to the elected representatives of the people to withdraw the process of NPR/NRC.” “We need to work together to fight both the pandemics of Covid 19 and the looming threat of detention camps.
Repeal CAA, no NPR/NRC, no corona epidemic. That is our collective demand”, the statement concludes.