Here's how Shaheen Bagh protesters are dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak
The Shaheen Bagh protesters have chosen to defy the Delhi government's ban on gatherings with over 50 people. But with at least 125 confirmed Coronavirus cases in India, gatherings of people risk the spread of the virus. Here's how Shaheen Bagh protesters are planning to combat the virus and continue the protest.
With the third official Coronavirus (COVID-19) death reported from Maharashtra on Tuesday, the anxiety around the deadly virus is only growing in the country. Governments, central and state, are actively discouraging large public gatherings with the Delhi government banning all gatherings with over 50 people to prevent the spread of the virus on Monday.
In this situation, several have asked for the Shaheen Bagh protesters, who have been protesting for the last three months against the allegedly discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), to vacate the area keeping the health hazard in mind.
The women of Shaheen Bagh have been incredibly brave, I like others have borrowed immense courage from them. But let us not forget that the elderly women at the protests are most vulnerable to the virus and in the interest of public health, the protests must take a break.— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) March 16, 2020
Folks at Shaheen Bagh should now call off their protest. They have made a point. But public safety must override politics. They can assemble later after the Coronavirus subsides. Refusal to do so is a risk to everyone’s health. If they still don’t move, they should be evicted.— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) March 17, 2020
Defying the government order, the protesters continued their sit-in protest and said that they are "keeping a close watch on the developments of the Coronavirus pandemic" and that they are in touch with legal and medical experts to find the best ways to take the protest forward.
#ShaheenBagh Statement on Corona Pandemic: While we are taking advice from medical and legal experts to combat the current situation, we demand the Central and Delhi governments also provide immediate measures to protect relief camps in NE Delhi.#IndiaFightsCorona #COVID2019 pic.twitter.com/84oxOfe8kI— Shaheen Bagh Official (@Shaheenbaghoff1) March 16, 2020
On Tuesday, the protesters arranged for separate beds at a certain distance from one another to observe some amount of social distancing.
Though this is a move which can contribute towards the prevention of the spread of the virus, the famous Shaheen Bagh Daadis (elderly women) still fall under the demography that is the most vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.
The protesters themselves have hinted towards taking the protest to a more symbolic route, with attempts to reduce the number of protesters to 50 at one point of time. There are opinions about moving Shaheen Bagh and other Shaheen Bagh-like protests across the country beyond sit-in protests as well.
Meanwhile, motormouth BJP leader Kapil Mishra took to Twitter to term the Shaheen Bagh protesters as "terrorists on a suic*de mission". Several have accused Mishra of delivering inciting speeches which may have started the North East Delhi riots which claimed the lives of more than 50 people.
First they blocked our traffic, stopped us from going to schools, hospitals & jobs— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) March 17, 2020
Shaheen Bagh protestors are behaving like "Terrorists on suic*de mission"
Shaheen Bagh is now a direct threat to lives of millions of Delhi citizens
It's a criminal act #Corona