In the next 10 days, there will be 5,000 more protest sites like Shaheen Bagh across the country, Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad said on Wednesday evening as he reached the iconic demonstration spot in south Delhi to extend his support to the women protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.
Addressing a massive gathering, the Dalit leader said the Citizenship Amendment Act is a 'black law' that is dividing people on religious lines.
"I congratulate those who have participated in this protest. This is not just a political agitation. We have to save the Constitution and unity of the nation," he told the women who have been staging a sit-in against the CAA for more than a month now.
Aazad said even the record-breaking cold has not been able to break the will power of the women.
The protesters, singing Faiz Ahmed Faiz's Urdu poem Hum Dekhnege before Aazad's arrival, got charged as he reached the venue.
Holding the Constitution, he said, "I promise you that in next days there will be at least 5,000 Shaheen Baghs across the country."
His visit to Shaheen Bagh comes a day after a Delhi court modified the conditions imposed on him while granting him bail. He was arrested last month for giving "inflammatory speeches" during an anti-CAA protest at Jama Masjid here.
The court allowed him to visit Delhi for medical reasons and election purposes. It also directed Azad to register his presence to the Station House Officer (SHO) of Fatehpur police station in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, every Saturday for four weeks and on the last Saturday of every month.
Meanwhile, with the Supreme Court giving four weeks to the Centre to respond to pleas challenging the CAA, protesters at Shaheen Bagh said they too are eager to put forth before the judges their point of view on how unconstitutional the amended citizenship law is.
Tasmin Bano, a resident of Shaheen Bagh who has been coming to the demonstration site along with her one-year-old daughter Umema since the protest began, said they will not move from the spot unless the CAA is revoked.
"We have heard the Supreme Court has given time to the Centre and till that time they would not stay the CAA. We are also ready to prove our version and can tell the court how unconstitutional this law is," Bano said.
Alexender Fleming, a protester who was holding the Bible, said listening to only one party is not the way of solving an issue.
"They (the other petitioners) also need to be heard and we are ready for that. We have full faith that we will prove our stand on how anti-constitution this law is," he said.
The Supreme Court made it clear on Wednesday that it would not stay the operation of the Citizenship Amendment Act without hearing the Centre and said a five-judge Constitution bench would decide the validity of the amended law.
Seeking response of the central government in four weeks on a batch of pleas challenging the CAA, the top court also restrained high courts in the country from proceedings with pending petitions on the issue.
Tanvir Akhtar, a software developer who comes to the site everyday after work, said there are already 100 Shaheen Baghs across the country.
"Till the time the law is not revoked, the protesters will not move an inch," he said.
Zeba Qasi, another protestor and local, alleged that the government is trying to 'demean' this protest.
"We all are here. We have come here for our rights and want the government to amend this. We have heard that 'Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai, hum sab hai bhai bhai'. If you will remove Muslim from this, then the poem will not be completed," she said, rebutting the charges that protesters at Shaheen Bagh are being paid.