Yesterday the Aaam Aadmi Party made the Atrocious allegation that the ANTI-CAA MOVEMENT IN Shaheen Bagh was scripted by the BJP. We have already seen the vilification of the movement by the BJP who made a slew of communal and sexist allegations against it. The AAP’s latest attempt to paint it as a ‘scripted movement’ is a pathetic effort to take refuge in cowardice. As women’s movements we have enough reason to not view AAP as a gender just party, but their attempt at disparaging the Shaheen Bagh movement portrays them as a misogynist, low-moral, and patriarchal and undemocratic party.
We would like to assert that the Shaheen Bagh movement was a spontaneous outrage by the women around Jamia who adopted the age-old technique of sit-ins till they got a just hearing. The brutality of the police on students, the injustice of the CAA/NRC/NPR and the fact that the government was not willing to hear any democratic voices, galvanized the women of the area to stand up and fight for their rights. They did it by sitting down on a section of the road, reading the Constitution and re-visiting the history of the country that gave India to Indians.
The BJP has always treated women as second class citizens to be controlled and used to promote bigotry and patriarchy, and promote hate. The women of Shaheen Bagh defied the stereotype they had built for Muslim women as helpless and pathetic. They showed that Muslim women were not backward, illiterate, repressed, oppressed and in need of salvation. The women were educated, aware, knew their rights and could communicate as articulately as any scholar. For the first time in the history of the country, it was not the liberals, the political ideologues, the traditional leadership and men who were at the forefront. The BJP was shaken by the kind of support the women received from the educated and the uneducated sections of society. Everyone who identified with women of Shaheen Bagh, had faced some form of deprivation. But the BJP led Government at the center refused to engage with the Protesters and their legitimate demands.
AAP has been playing a dubious game since the beginning of the passing of the CAA. From the vague stand that no foreigners should be allowed as there were no jobs or resources for them, they graduated to calling the protests across the city a hindrance to traffic and damaging to the economy. The cause was inconsequential to them. Not once did the AAP leaders even bother to talk to the students and protestors across the city. During the elections, AAP went with the tactic of the BJP to declare the protests to be a ‘law and order problem’. Their line was, if the police was in under our control, we would have cleared the protests in a matter of days and not let it go on for months.
The patriarchy and misogyny of AAP shows that movements spearheaded by women are difficult by for the status quo to accept. Women, who stood up and inspired countrywide democracy movements, do not need labels or classifications by petty politicians. Politicians of AAP in Delhi need to understand that if they cannot respect women, they will not be respected by them either. The seeds of bigotry and hate that they are sowing will not reap rich rewards. Women are not objects that can be used and discarded. We have a mind of our own and know how to hold our fort. The Violence in North East Delhi is proof that the BJP was shaken to the core by ability of women to stand up to fascism, patriarchy and corruption. It has taken a pandemic and complete clampdown on citizens’ rights for the police to jail numerous ANTI-CAA activists and fabricate fake cases against them.
We demand that the AAP to apologize to women who demanded nothing less than our Constitutionally protected fundamental rights in the most peaceful manner known in history. The attempt to potray them as a faceless, mindless herd who can be led/misled, is offensive to their brilliant imagination and articulation that was celebrated in India and abroad. If the AAP is too spineless to stand up to the unjust CAA, and thinks that dehumanizing or belittling communities as naïve or brainless, they need to check their moral compass. Clearly, their lust for power and office is converting them into opportunists who have failed the mandate of the people of Delhi which voted to bring them back to power in 2019.
- Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, Delhi
- National Federation of Indian Women, Delhi Unit
- Center for Struggling Women
- Swastik Mahila Samiti