New Delhi: The three elderly women who have come to be known as the "dadis of Shaheen Bagh" for leading the anti-CAA agitation there, and the mother of Rohith Vemula, a deceased student of the University of Hyderabad, hoisted the tricolour at the protest venue on Sunday to mark the country's 71st Republic Day.
Radhika Vemula, Rohith's mother, who was accompanied by the "dadis" and former JNU student Umar Khalid unfurled the national flag. They sang the national anthem along with thousands of people, including women and children who had gathered at Shaheen Bagh to celebrate the occasion.
Vadgam Assembly Constituency (Gujarat) MLA Jignesh Mevani was also present there.
The protesters, who are opposing the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and a proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC), have been sitting on protest at Shaheen Bagh for over a month. The protesters said they will continue their agitation until the government decides to rollback the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens.
From children to women, many held the national flag and sang patriotic songs to celebrate the spirit of oneness, equality and secularism. They chanted the "CAA se Azaadi, NRC se Azaadi, BJP se Azaadi (freedom from CAA, NRC and BJP)" while raising other slogans against the CAA and the NRC.
"We do not want a Prime Minister who cannot listen to our grievance and address our concerns. Why has the prime minister or any of his representatives addressed us yet? Why didn't he visit us and explain the CAA and NRC?," asked 75-year-old Sarwari, one of the 'Dadis', who has been part of the protest for over a month now.
The 82-year-old Bilkis said, "This is our nation and our forefathers have contributed in the freedom struggle of this country. Today, if we fail to protect the Constitution and the secular fabric of this country, we will fail to save the future of our nation," she said.
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