Face of anti-CAA protests, Aysha Renna, vows to continue the fight

Face of anti-CAA protests, Aysha Renna, vows to continue the fight
Face of anti-CAA protests, Aysha Renna, vows to continue the fight

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Face of anti-CAA protests, Aysha Renna, vows to continue the fight in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - KONDOTTY, Kerala — The nationwide agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register for Citizens (NRC) has turned the heat on the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The controversial law has drawn the ire of many people, especially Muslims across the country, who have been hitting the streets for past 20 days.

Twenty-two year-old Aysha Renna, who has been in the forefront of the agitation that began at Jamia Millia in New Delhi, was happy to see the protests spreading all over the country with the support of different groups of people, including Hindu religious leaders.

“It has assumed the form of a pan-India movement against the BJP government’s agenda,” she said, adding that the government crackdown would only fuel the protests.

In an exclusive interview with Saudi Gazette at her home in Kaloth, near Kondotty, Renna said she and her friends were educating the public on the importance of establishing a forum to mobilize and strengthen minority politics where all minority groups irrespective of their religious and political differences would be able to raise their voices without sacrificing their ideology and identity and express their views and ideas openly while upholding secular values.

Renna added: “We are trying to unite everyone in order to launch a powerful movement with the aim to defeat the destructive ideology of Hindutva that divides the country and its people.” The anti-CAA/NRC protests have been successful in bringing together the followers of different faiths and ideologies who believe the two draconian laws threaten India’s unity and integrity.

Non-Muslim students in Jamia, BHU in Varanasi and other universities joined the agitation as they wanted to pressure the government to reconsider the move that could deny their friends citizenship and make them stateless. Both CAA and NRC aim to expel Muslims from the country although Modi has reiterated the laws would not affect them. When the NRC was implemented in Assam, 1.9 million lost their citizenship including the family of former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed.

Renna thinks the participation of a large number of Muslim girls wearing hijab was one of the reasons for the success of protests in campuses and streets. “Hijabi women in north India rarely took part in public protests and demonstrations. We were able to break that stereotype and mobilize a large number of girls and women wearing Islamic dress for protests all over the country.”

Renna and her friend Ladeeda Farzana visited Hyderabad recently to discuss prospects of strengthening cooperation with Majlis-e-Ittihadul Muslimeen (MIM). “We also met with Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad at Jama Masjid as part of our efforts to promote minority politics.”

She believed that Modi and Shah would definitely withdraw the two contentious laws.

“The nationwide protests have frightened Modi and Shah as they never expected such a huge public outcry against the laws. They want to suppress the agitation with an iron fist. The police crackdown on student protesters in Jamia and Aligarh reflects their fear. The government has to withdraw the laws if it wants to end the agitation and bring back peace and stability,” she said.

She rebuked Modi and BJP officials for claiming that students were protesting without knowing the intrinsic benefits of the two bills. “I want to tell them that Jamia students have conducted an analytical study on the CAA and the NRC before starting the protests. I think it’s Modi and Shah who need to study it again in order to understand its complexities and how the laws divide the country, cause tension among its people and violate the country’s constitution.”

Social commitment of students is essential to make their education effective, says Renna. “Textbook knowledge will not be enough for students to become successful in life. They can learn many things from their surroundings and engaging in social and political activities. Most students in Jamia have this perspective about education and this has encouraged them to take part in protest rallies in large numbers,” she explained.

Asked about the video of Renna pointing her finger against a police officer when the latter tried to beat up her friend Shaheen, she said: “We don’t know who took the video. It has spread all over the world through the BBC.” She accused police of triggering violence to tarnish the image of peaceful protests. “We never expected police would enter our campus. They thrashed students at the university library as well as those who were praying inside the mosque.”

Renna said it was God who gave her the courage to stand up against the police brutalities in Jamia. “I am happy to say that God has chosen me to raise my finger against the police.” That video footage of Renna went viral encouraging more women to join anti-NRC rallies across the country. “We were at hospital for treatment of Shaheen when police entered the Jamia campus.”

Responding to the controversial comment of Gen. Bipin Rawat, the newly appointed chief of defense staff, that anti-CAA/NRC protests were not led by good leaders as they guided protesters to engage in arson and violence, she said the general was attempting to tarnish the image of protesters. “We don’t claim the sole leadership of the nationwide protests. Many leaders are involved and there is no point in attacking us personally. Pro-government officials call protesters as anti-nationals and jihadists to tarnish their image and belittle their mission,” she said.

A postgraduate history student, Renna was happy to be with her family in Kaloth after spending tumultuous days in Jamia during the initial days of the anti-government protests. “I have received tremendous support from my family and friends, especially from my husband Afsal Rahman who works as a freelance journalist in New Delhi and my parents Abdul Rasheed and Qamarunnisa. Afsal was with me whenever I was emotionally weak as a result of hate campaigns by the Sangh Parivar,” she said.

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