The Shaheen Bagh protest site had become a focal point in the BJP's poll campaign. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
On a sit-in for over a month against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, women protesters at Shaheen Bagh voted in batches on Saturday so that the agitation remains unaffected. While some of the women voted in the morning, others chose to get their fingers inked in the afternoon and the remaining in the evening.
Mehzabeen Qureshi, who returned to the protest site after voting said, “I stayed at home to let other women in the house go out and vote. Now I have joined them here at Shaheen Bagh after voting. I voted today to secure democracy.”
Zaheeda Khan, another resident of Shaheen Bagh, said they decided to vote in batches.
“The women here had decided a day before voting that some of them would go out to vote in the morning, while others will stay back for chores. Similarly, others will go in the afternoon and then come back to the protest site.
“By the evening, we are a full house again, all geared up to continue our protest.” she said.
Khan added that the women of Shaheen Bagh have changed their daily routines in the past two months to give maximum time to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest.
“We have decided to take care of this protest like our child," she said. Zahra Sheikh said they are determined to exercise their right to vote as it is crucial for a democracy.
“We started our day knowing that it will be of double importance for us. We want to ensure that democracy survives hence, every citizen of Shaheen Bagh is voting today” she said.
The elderly women of Shaheen Bagh, fondly called ‘Dabang Dadi’, also voiced their support to the anti-CAA protest and the right to protect the democracy.
“We are a family of dry cleaners and we want to take this government to the cleaners now. I did not miss a single day of the protest so there was no chance I would miss voting. I wish the government at the Centre also changes,” 80-year-old Rafeeqan said.
Taking a jibe at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's “biryani” remark, another senior citizen said they were voting to prove that they were not being served any "biryani".
Adityanath was served a notice by the Election Commission for his “Kejriwal is feeding biryani in Shaheen Bagh” comments. The Shaheen Bagh protest site had become a focal point in the BJP's poll campaign. Shaheeda, another 'Dabang Dadi' said, "The protest did not get affected by voting. We ensured that we exercised both our rights equally well.
“We are being accused of taking 'biryani' from politicians. We make scrumptious 'biryani' at home. We would rather invite these politicians here to sit and talk to us over a plate of biryani,” she said.
The protestors at Shaheen Bagh also hit out at their agitation being labelled a “political gimmick”.
“Many people have alleged that we are protesting for Delhi elections and that some political parties are funding us. They should know that we are still protesting as Delhi votes and will continue the agitation after the polling. The protests will go on till the government rolls back the draconian law,” Mohd Ayub said.