The two female students of Jamia Millia Islamia, whose video standing up to to the police during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest went viral last week, were given a rousing reception in Hyderabad on Saturday evening, as a mammoth meeting took place in the city.
The meeting was held at Darussalam, the headquarters of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), where the students shared the stage with Hyderabad MP Asadauddin Owaisi.
Ladeeda Farzana and Aysha Renna, called for building a bigger movement to free the country from 'fascist forces', as thousands who had gathered cheered them on, waving massive national flags and holding up photos of Dr B R Ambedkar and copies of the Preamble to the Constitution of India.
Aysha took to centre stage first, and spoke in English. She said that the protests against CAA and the National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) was not just a fight for Muslims, but for all the people in the country.
"We are not real icons. It's just that our videos went viral," said Aysha, referring to videos which showed the duo saving a male friend from lathi-wielding policemen at Jamia, which had gone viral.
After a short speech highlighting the problems with NRC and CAA, Aysha also lashed out at the BJP and the 'Sangh Parivar', which immmediately drew a roar of approval from the audience.
She accused the BJP of resorting to a hate campaign and targeting Muslim women, just because they were raising their voice for justice.
"I also demand that all those who have been detained during the protests, must be released immediately. The Chief Ministers of non-BJP ruled states must come together," she added.
Ladeeda Farzana, who spoke after Aysha, also elicited a massive respone.
She stressed on the need for a larger alliance, by joining hands and expressing solidarity with Dalits and other marginalised sections of society.
"We salute all the martyrs who laid down their lives fighting against this draconian law. We also salute all those who are on streets raising their voice," said Ladeeda, as the crowd erupted with cheers.
Both students also demanded the release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who was arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with violence during an anti-CAA protest in the capital. Recalling her meeting with Azad on Friday, Ladeeda described him as an inspiration for everyone.
The duo also said that more women should come out on to the streets, to protest against the CAA and the NRC.
"The fight for justice is incomplete, unless we have solidarity from people of all faiths, ideologies and communities," Ladeeda told the gathering.
The two students have come under a lot of scrutiny for their social media posts in the past where they have questioned the concept of secularism.
The meeting, attended by thousands of people, began with the national anthem and concluded with Owasi's speech after midnight. Reading out the Preamble of the Constitution, he made the participants repeat it and asked them to not resort to any kind of violence.