On the evening of January 23, women began gathering near Mosque Road in Bengaluru, along the wall next to the mosque. As the sun set, the women greeted each other and took their places on the pavement.
Chairs, carpets, and a small stage were laid out in preparation. This was one of the city’s few all-women protests. The night saw nearly 400 women raising their voices against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR), and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
It reminded one of the continuing women’s protest at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi where protesters have been sitting-in since December 15 in a peaceful demonstration. Indeed, organisers in of the all-women’s in Bengaluru said that they hope to emulate the protests in Delhi on Mosque Road, which is in Bengaluru’s Frazer Town.
Maitreyi, a lawyer who participated in the protest, said, "There are hundreds of women who are taking over the street through the night against the efforts of those in power to divide and criminalise people in a discriminatory manner. It has clearly brought out the power of the people, the power of love and unity to destroy the hate that the central government is attempting to spread."
Protesters at the event raised slogans against the BJP, accusing it of threatening the secular fabric of the nation through discriminatory policies. The women present were students, working professionals, and of different faiths. A prominent slogan at the protest was “Christians, Muslims, Hindus, we all have the same blood!” chanted in Kannada.
As the night turned to day, protesters maintained large numbers on Mosque Road, displaying high morale, and raising slogans against CAA.
Men were present at the protest site across the road too, putting up posters and holding up the flashlights on their phones in solidarity with the women protesting.
Shariq Rafeek, one of the men who joined the protests, said, "I think it's great that people showed up in big numbers and kept the protest going through the night. It was heartening to see children sloganeering and taking active part too. It was well organized with volunteers taking good care of the protestors. I was on the opposite side of the road with the rest of the men, and by midnight, a large number of men had gathered too."
While the protesters only have permission to protest till 3 pm on Friday, organisers said that they expect the women to continue the protest indefinitely.
Earlier this week, nearly 5,000 women protested at Tannery Road in Bengaluru against CAA in a demonstration that was also compared to Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. It was organised by the Karnataka Joint Action Committee.