‘Fight is not for Muslims alone, but all Indians’: Shaheen Bagh protester Asma Khatun

The 90-year-old was in Thiruvananthapuram for an anti-CAA, NRC protest.
‘Fight is not for Muslims alone, but all Indians’: Shaheen Bagh protester Asma Khatun
‘Fight is not for Muslims alone, but all Indians’: Shaheen Bagh protester Asma Khatun
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At 90, Beevi Asma Khatun is not someone you would associate with a protest. But she stepped out of the confines of her home like so many other women to protest against the CAA and NRC in Delhi. 

One of the faces of the Shaheen Bagh protest, Asma was in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday for the same cause- to take part in a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Registrar of Citizens (NRC).

“Yes I am 90, I won’t have come out at this point in my life if the  CAA and NRC hadn’t been imposed,” she says.

While Asma was speaking to TNM sitting at a hotel room in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, the violence in Delhi was at its peak. Asma said this won’t deter the spirit of the protesters — “We are not afraid of any human being but God. Prime Minister Narendra Modi knows what is happening in Delhi, it’s not people like us who are behind the violence. We will stop our protest if he gives in writing that both CAA and NRC will be revoked.”

The protests led by women at Shaheen Bagh against the contentious CAA and NRC, completed 74 days on Wednesday, February 26.

The fight, Asma elaborates, is not for Muslims alone; but for all Indians who want to live a peaceful life. “It’s not solely the Muslims in Shaheen Bagh, but the Sikhs, Dalits, Christians… everyone is there. Everyone is bhai bhai (we all are alike). No one can differentiate us in the name of religion,” she asserts.

For her, it’s not just one particular religious community that is in danger in the country but everyone who believes in the Constitution.

Asma says the protest has become stronger and stronger with each passing day. “The number of protesters have only been increasing with each day. The fight is not for us, it’s for the Constitution. We won’t stop unless the CAA and NRC are revoked, even if it’s months or years. Our fight is for the country, not for us. We were born here and will die here, we won’t leave the country. The country is for all religions and it will be remain so,” she avers.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, taking note of the sensitive situation in Delhi, deferred the hearing of the Shaheen Bagh matter to March 23.

In Kerala, protests in solidarity with Shaheen Bagh have been happening in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

On the propaganda that the Shaheen Bagh protesters are hired for Rs 500 a day and that the wallet in the hands of the women are stones, Beevi Asma dismisses them as lies — “The Prime Minister lies every time, what he says in the morning he would deny by the evening, he doesn’t believe even in himself.”

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court in a midnight hearing on Tuesday, directed the police to ensure emergency treatment for those injured in the ongoing violent clashes. 

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